Lying may make you want to clean your body a lot more than usual, according to a recent insight.
"The references to 'dirty hands' or 'dirty mouths' in everyday language suggest that people think about abstract issues of moral purity in terms of more concrete experiences with physical purity," said Spike W.S. Lee.
The team found that participants, who lied on the phone, leaving an untrue and malevolent voicemail, felt a stronger desire for mouthwash and were willing to pay more for it than those who lied on e-mail.
And conversely, those who lied on e-mail, typing the same mean message, felt a stronger desire for hand sanitizer and were willing to pay more for that.
Saying nice and ethical things, on the other hand, made it less appealing to clean the body part involved in conveying the message.
Verbal lying increased participants' assessment of mouthwash while lying on e-mail, using their hands, increased the assessment of hand sanitizer's value.
"This study shows how 'concrete' the metaphorical links are between abstract and concrete domains of life," Norbert Schwarz, a psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), said.
"Not only do people want to clean after a dirty deed, they want to clean the specific body part involved."
The findings of the study, published in the current (October) issue of Psychological Science, support that connection.