When do we consider and not consider hygiene?
So I find it interesting when someone pulls one of those covers down and then doesn’t wash their hands. But uses a paper towel to open the door? Crazy!
If this behavior could benefit from a marketing sleight of hand maybe they need to label all the soap in the women’s bathroom at least with some fancy label which every woman would want to use???
The urban myth propagated when I was a youth was that one (females in particular) could contract an STD by sitting on an unprotected toilet seat. The result is toilet-seat protectors and people who will squat to use the toilet without actually sitting on it (frequently leading to “bad aim” and a more valid need for the seat protector.)
What behavior I find most interesting is the number of women who will flush public toilets using their feet (or knees, or elbows, or…) rather than their hands, but then will not wash their hands with soap and water – many often just rinse with water.
I suspect if we could visualize bacteria and viruses the way advertisers portray them in the disinfectant commercials on TV we’d all be pretty surprised which surfaces and body parts were the most contaminated!
So here’s my question, do you think that individuals would change their hygienic behaviors if one knew the relative (harmful) bacterial/viral contamination levels of public facilities?
Imagine the marketing and wonderful new products to be sold to we irrational consumers!
Very interesting >
Marshmallow temptations, brain scans could yield vital lessons in self-control
Had never thought about this aspect of using those seat protectors. Good points.
Just a quick data point. I used to work at a gas station with a public restroom, and so I had to restock the paper toilet-seat covers as well as the hand soap and paper towel dispensers. I can tell you that very, very few people use the paper toilet-seat covers; I had to restock the paper towels every day, whereas one package of toilet-seat covers lasted over six months. So it would appear that the majority of bathroom-users are rational in this regard.
I agree with Susan. The paper seat cover is from the urban myth of STD’s from toilet seats.
On another note, the handle of the soap dispenser and the sink are the biggest bacteria catchers. We touch them with our dirty hands, clean hands, and then touch the dirty handles again to turn them off. Hence, we got dirty again. Some bathrooms have sensors that turn on and off the water with no touching involved, much better. But we still get dirty from the soap dispenser handle, not to mention opening and closing the bathroom door. We need a sensor for the soap dispenser and maybe automatic bathroom door openers like in the supermarket?
In Schipol airport, Amsterdam, a fly is painted in each urinal near the drain hole. This has decreased urine on the floor by 90%. Men seem to aim automatically at a target.
Hi, I’m Dan Ariely. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.
Follow Blog via Email
Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Join 116,916 other followers
The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially OurselvesOrder now:
The Upside of Irrationality, explores some positive and some negative ways that irrationality plays out in our lives.
When we make decisions we think we're in control. But are we?
Excerpts and Videos
Predictably Irrational App
Get the App for Free
Arming the Donkeys is a weekly audio podcast featuring informal one-on-one chats with researchers in social and natural sciences. (get the RSS feed) - Also listen on TuneIn Radio
Predictably Irrational is a video podcast with episodes that highlight chapters of the book.
Right Now. Take a quick anonymous survey.
In The Future. We're always conducting interesting studies. To be a part of one sign up here
We're always conducting interesting studies. If you are willing to participate in future studies, enter your email and we'll contact you a few times a year.
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.