(Sept. 29) -- Liars: keep your supplies of mouthwash and hand sanitizer fully stocked.
Lying spurs the guilty parties to want to clean their "dirty" body parts, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. It's yet another study to establish a connection between abstractions, like morality or worry, and more tangible experiences of purity or contentedness.
The study included 87 college students, who were asked to act the part of lawyers and imagine themselves competing for a promotion with a co-worker. In the scenario, each student was told they had stumbled across a document important to the co-worker's chances and could reach out to him by email or voice mail -- and either opt to tell the truth and hand it over, or fib and pretend they hadn't found it.
And here's where the twist comes in: The same students were then asked to complete a marketing survey, which included mouthwash and hand sanitizer, and evaluate how much they'd pay for each product.
The dirty little voice mail liars were willing to shell out more money for mouthwash, while the e-mail deceivers had a hankering to rub their hands of their treachery.
Those who'd maintained their moral purity, on the flip side, weren't especially interested in cleaning their body parts with overpriced personal hygiene products.
"This study shows how 'concrete' the metaphorical links are between abstract and concrete domains of life," Norbert Schwarz, a psychologist who collaborated on the study, said in a statement. "Not only do people want to clean after a dirty deed, they want to clean the specific body part involved."
If you're a liar who often has second thoughts about your transgressions, take special note -- and consider a Costco membership. Earlier this year, the same research team found that worries could be washed away with soap and water.
In other words: lie, sanitize, rinse, repeat.