Chapter 10: Disgust

Cognitive Appraisals

At the beginning of this chapter, we reviewed the eliciting events and cognitive appraisals of different types of disgust.  In this section, we will review Scherer’s (1997) findings on disgust.  Think about how Scherer’s (1997) findings confirm or disconfirm Rozin et al’.s (2008) disgust appraisals.

 

Scherer’s (1997) Study

 

Scherer’s (1997) study found universal and cultural differences in cognitive appraisals.  For a review of Scherer’s (1997) study, go to the modern theories section on cognitive appraisals.  Means (see Table 11), collapsed across all world regions, show that participants reported the following appraisals when recalling a disgust experience: unexpected, unpleasant, goal obstruction, perceived unfairness, external causation, perception that one does not need to cope, slightly immoral, and no change in self-esteem.  In this table, I left the means for anger.  Note that the disgust and anger means for all eight appraisals are similar.  This might suggest that people make the same appraisals for both disgust and anger.  In fact, in Figure 10, we can see that the cognitive appraisal patterns for anger and disgust appear similar.  In Figure 10, the presence of a circle around a datapoint indicates that the country with the circle showed means significantly different from the mean of the remainder of the sample.  Unfairness and immorality showed cultural differences.  African countries viewed disgust as higher in unfairness and immorality, while Latin American participants reported disgust to be caused by something moral.

Table 11
Mean Changes in Cognitive Appraisal Dimensions for Disgust and Anger

A table that shows a cognitive appraisal dimension, disgust mean, anger mean, the question, and the Response Scale
Cognitive Appraisal Dimension Disgust Mean Anger Mean Question Response Scale
Expectedness 1.47 1.43 Did you expect this situation to occur? 1 = not at all; 2 = a little; 3 = very much
Unpleasantness 2.90 2.90 Did you find the event itself pleasant or unpleasant? 1 = pleasant; 2 = neutral; 3 = unpleasant
Goal Obstruction 2.33 2.55 Did the event help or hinder you to follow your plans or achieve your aims? 1 = it helped; 2 = it didn’t matter; 3 = it hindered
Unfairness 2.25 2.52 Was the situation unjust or unfair? 1 = not at all; 2 = a little; 3 = very much
External Causation 2.48 2.28 Who you think was responsible for the event? 1 = self/internal; 2 = close persons/external; 3 = other persons/external; 4 = impersonal agency/external
Coping Ability 3.13 3.23 How did you evaluate your ability to act on or to cope with the event and its consequences? 1= powerless; 2 = escape possible; 3 = pretend nothing happened; 4 = no action necessary; 5 = could positively influence event and change consequences
Immorality 2.25 2.20 Would this behavior itself be judged as improper or immoral by your acquaintances? 1 = not at all; 2 = a little; 3 = very much
Self-esteem 1.82 1.77 How did this event affect your self-esteem? 1=negatively; 2= not at all; 3 = positively

Adapted from “The Role of Culture in Emotion-Antecedent Appraisal,” by K.R. Scherer, 1997, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(5), p. 905, 911 (https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.73.5.902). Copyright 1997 by the American Psychological Association.

Figure 10
Eight Cognitive Appraisal Ratings for Disgust and Anger across Six World Regions
6 world regions graphed as lines for eight cognitive appraisal ratings for Disgust and Anger. There are eight emotions listed on the x axis: Expect, Unpica, Goal Abs, Unfair, Ext cause, coping, Immor, self-consciousness. Z scores are represented on the y axis, starting at -0.75, and increasing in intervals of .25, to the maximum of 0.75.

Note. Presence of a circle around a datapoint indicates that the country with the circle showed means significantly different from the mean of the remainder of the sample. Adapted from “The Role of Culture in Emotion-Antecedent Appraisal,” by K.R. Scherer, 1997, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(5), p. 912, (https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.73.5.902). Copyright 1997 by the American Psychological Association.

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Psychology of Human Emotion. by Michelle Yarwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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