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How cleanliness affects your behaviour

Or why a dirty place of work might make you more inclined to be selfish

by Ali Roff

a messy office makes you more devious

If you need an incentive to keep the kitchen tidy or sort out the chaos at work, this might just do the trick…

When we feel disgusted, say by a dirty kitchen or cluttered messy workplace, new research published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes in 2014 has found that this repulsion can make us focus on protecting ourselves and as a result we start to behave selfishly, even carrying out small acts of cheating and deceit.

However, on the other hand, cleanliness reverses self-serving and unethical behaviour, and instead prompts more co-operation – which is always handy both at home and at work.

A good incentive to tidy up, if ever we heard one…

Photograph: iStock