Send to

Choose Destination
Span J Psychol. 2011 May;14(1):156-62.

The uncertain universality of the Macbeth effect with a Spanish sample.

Author information

Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de La Laguna, Campus de Guajara s/n, 38071 La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.


Recently a psychological mechanism has been proposed between bodily purity and moral purity: the "Macbeth effect". The act of washing their hands seems to free individuals of their guilt. However, the universality of this psychological mechanism is an empirical question that should be studied. In four studies we replicated the original Zhong & Liljenquist's experiments with Spanish samples. We were unsuccessful in replicating the Zhong & Liljenquist's results that supported cleansing as a psychological mechanism for compensating guilty: results couldn't confirm an increased mental accessibility of cleansing-related concepts or even a greater desire for cleansing products, neither a greater likelihood of taking antiseptic wipes. In addition we didn't find that physical cleansing alleviates the upsetting consequences of unethical behaviour. Spanish samples showed sensibility to morality and helping behaviour but not with cleansing as a way to reduce their threatened morality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center