Cleanliness cues do not influence conservatism (#253)

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"Cleanliness cues do not influence conservatism" Bryan R. Burnham. 17 May 2016 14:46 25 Jul 2017, 03:57 <>

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Cleanliness cues do not influence conservatism [Internet]. Bryan R. Burnham; 2016 May 17, 14:46 [cited 2017 Jul 25]. Available from:

Reference to Original Report of Finding Helzer, E. G., & Pizarro, D. A. (2011). Dirty Liberals!: Reminders of Physical Cleanliness Influence Moral and Political Attitudes. Psychological Science, 22(4), 517-522. doi:10.1177/0956797611402514
Title Cleanliness cues do not influence conservatism
If the original article contained multiple experiments, which one did you attempt to replicate? e.g., you might respond 'Study 1' or 'Experiment 4'. Experiment 1
Link to PDF of Original ReportView Article
Brief Statement of Original Result Subjects completed a political attitude survey near a hand-sanitizer dispenser or empty wall. Subjects rated their political attitudes more conservative near the hand-sanitizer.
Type of Replication Attempted Highly Direct Replication
Result Type Failure to Replicate
Difference? Same Direction, .374
Number of Subjects 86
Number of Subjects in Original Study 52
Year in which Replication Attempt was Made 2016
Name of Investigators (Real Names Required) Bryan R. Burnham
Detailed Description of Method/Results A power analysis based on d = 89 reported in Helzer and Pizarro (2011) indicated a sample of at least n = 42 subjects was needed to detect an effect of that size with Power (1 - β) = .80 and α = .05. The ending sample included n = 86 subjects.

Subjects were approached as they entered one of two sets of doors at the University campus center, which is busy with pedestrian traffic. On one side of each hallway was a hand-sanitizer dispenser, while the other side was free of objects. Subjects completed a survey on political attitudes near the hand-sanitizer dispenser or near the empty wall.

Every ninth student who entered the doors was asked if they would like to participate in a demographic survey. If they agreed, subjects were asked to “step over to the hand-sanitizer dispenser to take the survey” or “step over to the wall to take the survey.” Assignment of subjects to complete the survey near the hand-sanitizer dispenser or the wall was alternated every other subject. Once the subject was at the location, they were handed a survey that asked their age, major, and to rate their political attitude in the moral, social, and fiscal domains on a scale from 1 (extremely conservative) to 7 (extremely liberal). Subjects also rated their awareness of the hand-sanitizer dispenser on a scale from 0 (totally unaware) to 5 (totally aware). Subjects were more aware when near the hand-sanitizer dispenser (M = 3.67, SD = 1.32) than the wall (M = 2.30, SD = 1.79), t(84) = 4.038, SE = .340, p = .000119 (two-tailed), d = .88.

The three ratings of political attitude were positively correlated so they were averaged (α = .67) to form a single political attitude score. As seen in the figure, the average political attitude score was slightly more conservative in the presence of the hand-sanitizer dispenser, but the difference was not statistically significant, t(84) = 0.893, SE = .226, p = .374 (two-tailed), d = .19.

A 2(Location: Hand-Sanitizer Dispenser, Wall) x 3(Survey Scale: Moral, Social, Fiscal) ANOVA revealed a significant interaction, F(2,168) = 3.845, MSE = 1.047, p = .023 (note: Helzer & Pizarro, 2011, found this to be non-significant). As seen in the figure, in the presence of the hand-sanitizer dispenser subjects rated their political attitudes more conservative in the moral (p = .373) and social domains (p = .046), but not the fiscal domain (p = .361).

In sum, this replication attempt largely failed to replicate Experiment 1 of Helzer and Pizarro (2011). That is, a reminder of cleanliness (the hand-sanitizer dispenser) was unable to shift political attitudes toward being more conservative. It is important to note that subjects were more aware of the hand-sanitizer dispenser when standing near it compared to near the empty wall. Hence, the lack of an influence of the hand-sanitizer dispenser on political attitudes cannot be attributed to a lack of awareness.
Any Known Methodological Differences
(between original and present study)?
The main difference was assigning subjects to hand-sanitizer and empty wall locations. Helzer and Pizarro (2011) ran both the experimental and control conditions in a blocked fashion, whereas we alternated between assigning subjects to the experimental and control conditions.
Email of Investigator
Name of individuals who
actually carried out the project
Students in a research methods class ran subjects, the data were analyzed as a group with the instructor (BRB).
Location of ProjectThe DeNaples Center, The University of Scranton
Characteristics of Subjects
(subject pool, paid, etc.)
College-aged students who entered the student center at the University of Scranton.
Where did these subjects reside?United States
Was this a Class Project?Yes
Further Details of Results as pdf
Additional Comments
Email of Original Investigator
Quantitive Information In the original report, the mean difference between the hand-sanitizer group and wall group was .63 (+/- .55, 95% CI). Our replication attempt resulted in a mean difference of .20 (+/- .45, 95% CI).
I have complied with ethical standards for experimentation on human beings and, if necessary, have obtained appropriate permission from an Institutional Review Board or other oversight group.
TAG: Attention TAG: JDM TAG: Language TAG: Learning TAG: Memory TAG: Perception TAG: Performance TAG: Problem Solving TAG: Social Cognition TAG: Social Psychology TAG: Thinking

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