To Open Mind, Clean Hands

Sometimes it can just be that simple:

After choosing between two alternatives, people perceive the chosen alternative as more attractive and the rejected alternative as less attractive. This postdecisional dissonance effect was eliminated by cleaning one’s hands. Going beyond prior purification effects in the moral domain, physical cleansing seems to more generally remove past concerns, resulting in a metaphorical “clean slate” effect. (more)

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  • Buck Farmer

    Washing hands also makes you more lenient in moral judgement.

    Does cleanliness just reduce confidence in all decisions?

  • Kevin Dick

    This is just another example of a ridiculous post. I’m washing my hands of this blog. Oh, wait. 🙂

  • Aron

    Science is broken. We need some science about where science fails. Could an economist do that? Sometimes it can just the that simple.

    • Buck Farmer

      History of science is littered with failed theories, methods, and research programs. This seems to be pretty standard.

      If you want an account of how or why a scientific theory is eventually overturned, there’s some good history and philosophy of science out there. I recommend Popper and Kuhn as good foundational texts (particularly, Structure of Scientific Revolutions).

      Economics for the last 50 or so years has been trying to become more of a science than a philosophy. They might be more self-reflective than other disciplines, but that’s not obvious to me.

      When you say science is broken, do you mean?

      1. Scientific method broken: Popperian falsification tied to Kuhn’s paradigm-shift vs. normal incremental science set up are the wrong criteria for scientific truth?

      2. Scientists have diverged from the scientific method due maybe to poor institutional design and perhaps unchecked biases?

  • sour grape

    Oh yeah, wash your hands regularly. ;D