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Study released in conjunction with Global Handwashing Day

October 15, 2009
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LONDON — A study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that people are more likely to properly wash their hands if they are shamed into it or think they are being watched, according to Reuters.
According to the story, when prompted by an electronic message flashing up on a board asking: "Is the person next to you washing with soap?" roughly 12 percent more men and 11 percent more women used soap and employed proper handwashing techniques.
The researchers studied the behavior of a quarter of a million people using toilets at service stations in Britain over 32 days; the use of soap was monitored by sensors, the story stated.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health to mark Global Handwashing Day, showed that with no reminders, 32 percent of men and 64 percent of women used soap when washing their hands, the story noted.
According to the article, researchers flashed a series of electronic messages, ranging from "Water doesn''t kill germs, soap does" to "Don''t be a dirty soap dodger," onto screens at the entrance of restrooms and measured how handwashing behavior changed.
Researchers noted "intriguing differences" in the behavior of men and women: While women responded to simple reminders, men tended to react best to messages that invoked disgust, such as "Don''t take the loo with you — wash with soap," or "Soap it off or eat it later," the story added.
To view the complete results of the study, click here.
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