The slob factor

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FuturePundit observes a phenomenon which might open up a possible avenue for nudge:

Clean rooms also increased willingness to volunteer and donate to charity.

That’s just the sense of smell. We have other senses. What does room color do to us? Which color makes us most unfair? Red? Yellow? Is it the same color that makes us most cynical or most haughty? And what does the feeling of slime on one’s hands do to one’s disposition? Probably something similar to nasty smells is my guess.

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5 Comments

  1. Purity is one of Jonathan Haidt’s five moral factors and it is part of the cluster where religious/conservative people score higher than secular/liberal people. 
     
    My guess is that there is a sort of moral general factor too and that if you score higher on purity it indicates that the person has stronger overall moral instincts.

  2. I doubt that. Some people who are very strict about taboos, etc., can be indifferent to some of the others. 
     
    I suspect that the outcome of Haidt’s work is a kind of structured relativism, where peoples and individuals differ on their hierarchies of values in specific ways, but all have their own values. 
     
    The totally immoral person: filthy and lewd, no respect for authority, no loyalty to any individual or group, greedy and dishonest and unfair, and indifferent to anyone else’s suffering. It’s an imaginable type, especially in fiction, but usually someone like that wouldn’t be viable.

  3. My guess is that there is a sort of moral general factor too and that if you score higher on purity it indicates that the person has stronger overall moral instincts. 
     
    Only if you value “purity” (which, by the way, seems to have little to do with cleanliness) above other factors. Or in other words, only if you have a “conservative” morality (emphasis on observing taboos) as opposed to a “liberal” morality (emphasis on being good to others).  
     
    Slightly OT: Jonathan Haidt on morality, evolution, and why the “new atheists” get it wrong.

  4. Purity has a fair amount to do with cleanliness, though not with what we’d call sanitation. I know that S and SE Asians are very attentive to body odor. One of Dumont’s points, and it comes up in Indian novels. 
     
    During the Crusades Muslims though of Franks as filthy. The Mediterranean had a tradition of bathing which W. Europe (NW Europe anyway) didn’t, and various cleanliness rituals were part of Islam. Some of it was was pure ritual (washing with sand in the desert) but real cleanliness could be the result too. 
     
    Filthy and drunken, we conquered the world.

  5. “The totally immoral person: filthy and lewd, no respect for authority, no loyalty to any individual or group, greedy and dishonest and unfair, and indifferent to anyone else’s suffering. It’s an imaginable type, especially in fiction, but usually someone like that wouldn’t be viable.” 
     
    you should visit downtown Baltimore sometime. Or maybe a federal prison. A lot of these “imaginable only in fiction” qualities are indeed embodied in real people (I guess you could call them that) who are viable enough to be sucking up your tax dollars in prison or out.

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