Conditions for the clean slate effect after success or failure.

08:00 EDT 20th March 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Conditions for the clean slate effect after success or failure."

The act of physically cleaning one's hands may reduce the impact of past experiences, termed clean-slate effect. Cleaning was found to affect negative, neutral, and mildly positive states. We extend this influence to success, a self-serving state. We manipulated success vs. failure and measured changes in optimism (Experiment 1) or self-esteem (Experiment 2). Moreover, we examined boundary conditions for the clean-slate effect. Experiment 1 indicates that the influence of performance on optimism diminishes if participants knew (compared to did not know) they were cleaning their hands. Experiment 2 indicates that the influence of performance on self-esteem diminishes if participants cleaned themselves (compared to an object). These results suggest that the clean-slate effect requires both awareness and self-reference of the cleaning act. Thus, the clean-slate effect seems to depend on both conscious inferences and automatic processes. A meta-analysis across the experiments confirms a moderate-sized clean-slate effect.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: The Journal of social psychology
ISSN: 1940-1183


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