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Science Perfectly Explains Why Miley Stewart Said Goodbye To 'Hannah Montana'

Turns out having 'The Best Of Both Worlds' can't last forever.

Diehard Disney Channel fans know that behind every episode, there's a lesson to be learned. "Hannah Montana," a hit show about a teen living a double-life as an international pop star and an ordinary girl, was no exception.

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Star

Towards the end of the final season, Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) makes the difficult decision to take off her wig and ditch her Hannah persona for good. Why? A new study published in the May issue of Psychological Science suggests morality might have something to do with it.

Yes. Really.

Drs. Francesca Gino, Maryam Kouchaki and Adam D. Galinsky examined the connection between authenticity -- that is, being true to yourself and your values -- and morality in their research. Through a series of five experiments, they discovered that participants who engaged in inauthenticity were more likely to feel "immoral and impure" as a result of their actions.

Their findings help explain why fictional Miley needed to move on from her alter-ego, Hannah. Having the best of both worlds was NBD for most of Miley's teen years. But when her double-life started negatively impacting her family and best friends, Miley began questioning what was really important in her life -- the fame or the people she loved.

Disney

Hannah

When Miley's guy best friend, Oliver Oken, developed a major celeb crush on Hannah, Miley felt morally obligated to show him who Hannah really was. In the show's last season, Miley's BFF Lilly Truscott wanted to defer her acceptance to Stanford University so that her and Miley could attend the school together as they once promised each other. And when paparazzi caught Miley's boyfriend kissing her sans wig, Hannah fans started hating on him for cheating on their idol.

The people in Miley's life were making huge personal sacrifices in order to protect Hannah's identity, and this made her feel like crap. She could have easily sat back and continued to live her superstar life while everyone else took the heat, sure, but she didn't because that would mean betraying her true values and forever feeling guilty for it.

"This link from inauthenticity to feeling immoral produced an increased desire among participant to cleanse themselves and to engage in moral compensation be behaving prosocially," the authors wrote in the study's abstract.

Disney Channel

Wig off

So after years of leading an inauthentic double-life, Miley didn't want to lie to the world anymore. She engaged in moral compensation by finally taking off her wig and telling her fans the truth.

The big reveal didn't come without a heartbreaking goodbye, though. In "I'll Always Remember You," Miley goes through Hannah's old clothes, reminisces about past performances and bids farewell to the persona that made up half of her teenage life:

The research helps explain why Miley's moral compass -- her inner Jiminy Cricket, if you will -- prevailed when she wasn't being true to herself, but these findings don't apply to just Miley. If you're not being authentic in your own life, these studies suggest your moral judgement will likely kick in, too. After all, the worst person you can lie to is yourself.

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