- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Clean smells promote generosity and fair play; dark rooms and sunglasses promote deceit and selfishness
The English language is full of metaphors linking moral purity to both physical cleanliness and brightness. We speak of “clean consciences”, “pure thoughts” and “dirty thieves”. We’re suspicious of “shady behaviour” and we use light and darkness to symbolise good and evil. But there is more to these metaphors than we might imagine. The mere scent of a clean-smelling room can take people down a virtuous road, compelling them to choose generosity over greed and charity over apathy. Meanwhile, the darkness of a dimmed room or a pair of sunglasses can compel people towards selfishness and cheating.
These new results are the latest from psychologist Chen-Bo Zhong. Back in 2006, he showed that people who brought back memories of past wrong-doings