Exploring the mediational role of psychological separation in the clean-slate effect
Chua, Kai Ling
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In recent years, there has been a growing body of research highlighting the effects of physical cleansing on our mental states. More specifically, recent research has showcased that similar to washing away germs and dirt, physical cleansing is also able to reduce the effects of current psychological states experienced due to past actions. However, despite the abundance of studies demonstrating this effect, little has been conducted in examining the underlying mechanisms of this clean-slate effect. The present study was hence conducted to meet this gap in the literature. Specifically, it was hypothesized that physical cleansing serves to psychologically separate the current from a past self, such that what one did in the past would have little influence on the current self as that past self feels psychologically separated from the current self. Capitalizing on the effects of effort on liking, the study first sought to investigate if physical cleansing was able to attenuate this relationship. Thereafter, an investigation was conducted to examine if this attenuation was due to physical cleansing being able to psychologically separate an individual from his/her past self. Overall, while the results failed to support the hypotheses, the data patterns were in the hypothesized directions. Future directions in improving the study’s possible methodological issues are discussed.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University