Cleanliness is next to morality, even for philosophers

Kevin Tobia, Gretchen Chapman, Stephen Stich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A number of studies have shown that seemingly morally irrelevant factors influence the moral judgments of ordinary people. Some argue that philosophers are experts and are significantly less susceptible to such effects. We tested whether an unconscious cleanliness prime - the smell of Lysol - affects the judgments of both nonphilosophers and professional philosophers. Our results suggest that the direction of cleanliness effects depends both on the respondent and whether the question is framed in the second or third person. They also provide evidence that cleanliness cues affect the moral judgments of both non-philosophers and philosophers, challenging the philosopher- as-expert view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Artificial Intelligence


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