Boost Your Optimism: Wash Your Hands
Trouble is, you might also lose your drive, study says
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Nov 9, 2013 5:35 PM CST
Washing your hands may help clean away feelings of failure, a study says.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Feeling dejected? You might want to turn on the sink. Washing your hands, a study suggests, can be emotionally cleansing: It may help us feel more optimistic after a failure. Researchers assigned an "impossible task" to two groups of people; they failed, of course. Then, scientists told one group to wash their hands. Both groups showed optimism they could achieve the task on a second try, but the hand-washers were far more confident than their peers were, National Geographic reports.

"Washing seems to work like a ritual which we use to close a matter, and this, in turn, can have several effects on the mental level," says researcher Kai Kaspar. The downside: Those who washed their hands actually performed worse on their second attempt than did the others. Kaspar suggests the washing may remove one's drive to achieve, though National Geographic notes that there are other ways to explain the phenomenon.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
Nov 13, 2013 2:41 PM CST
No wonder Howie Mandel is always happy.
Nov 11, 2013 5:56 AM CST
The hand washers acquire the wisdom to realize that the second attempt at something that is turning out to be impossible does not justify futile persistence.
Nov 10, 2013 12:07 PM CST take...Assigned an impossible task, hand washers feel they can do it....conclussion: washing hands makes you delusional. Maybe I should wash my hands...?