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This Is the Only Stall You Should Use in a Public Bathroom

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 9/18/2017 Brooke Nelson

© Marcel Derweduwen/Shutterstock When faced with a choice, which stall do you typically select in a public bathroom? Typically, you’d enter any one that appears reasonably clean and hope for the best, right? But let’s take the guessing game out of this dire dilemma. Little did you know, science can actually help you choose the cleanest stall, statistically speaking. (And by the way, this is the only time it’s OK to use a restaurant bathroom without being a customer.)

Research suggests that you should avoid the middle stalls if possible. Why? When given any slate of equal options, people tend to choose the middle one—a little habit that psychologists call “centrality preference.”

<p>A <a href="http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/inspiring-bathrooms-archives-slideshow/all?mbid=synd_msnlife">great bath</a> is a cheery place to start your day and a soothing oasis to end it, but these spaces from the AD archives take that idea to the next level. Designated seating arrangements—a single slipper chair, a spacious upholstered ottoman, a pair of plush armchairs—next to the tub or in front of the vanity encourage you to treat the room like a luxurious day spa. Here, you can sit back and relax after the otherwise mundane activities of brushing your teeth or combing your hair—or you can use the space to just escape from it all, for as long as you wish. Read on to see our favorite baths made for lounging.</p> 11 Bathrooms Made for Lounging

While the centrality preference can apply to a range of choices, it goes for public bathrooms, too. A 1995 paper published in the journal Psychological Science examined the restroom habits of beachgoers in coastal California. After teaming up with a local custodian, psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld tracked how often the toilet paper was changed in each of four stalls for 10 weeks. His results: While 60 percent of finished rolls came from the middle stalls, only 40 percent came from those at the ends. That indicates that far more people used the stalls in the middle than random probability might anticipate. (Just whatever you do, don’t bring a cup of coffee into the bathroom with you.)

Still, just because fewer people use an end stall, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cleaner. They may tend to be messier or cleaned less often, so people avoid them—hence the lack of turnover. Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to be just a little more cautious about your stall selection next time. And while you’re at it, make sure you follow these unspoken etiquette rules for using a public restroom.

[Source: Business Insider]

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