New Paper: Physical Cleansing Increases Contamination Concerns


June 2018. A new paper with Philippe Gilchrist is now in press at the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. We found that rather than alleviating feelings of contamination, physical self-cleansing led to more contamination concerns and guilt when in the context of activated obsessive-type cognitions, possibly because it paradoxically makes cleanliness goals salient. By contrast, self-affirmation (i.e., affirming one’s core values) can be more effective in addressing moral concerns as a consequence of guilt.

Philippe is now taking up a Senior Lectureship at Macquarie University. Well done, but sad to see him go!

Gilchrist, P. T., & Schnall, S. (2018). The paradox of moral cleansing: When physical cleansing leads to increased contamination concerns. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 61, 38-44.