Chapter 10: Disgust

Eliciting Events

Theorists have suggested many eliciting events that cause the emotion disgust.  Many elicitors of disgust are objects that could cause physical harm to the body.  In fact, evolutionary psychologists believe that disgust developed as an adaptation to protect the body from ingesting a deadly substance.  Evolutionary psychologists suggest that disgust first developed with a focus on the mouth – such that disgust caused us to reject food that tasted bad and could harm the body.  Then, the disgust adaptation expanded to include a disgust response to body waste products and infection, and eventually to people who committed moral violations.  In general, researchers think disgust protected against harm to the body and later on harm to the soul.  We will discuss the type of disgust caused by each eliciting event.  Within these four types of disgust, specific cognitive appraisals will be defined.



Four Types of Disgust

The four types of disgust are: core disgust, animal-nature, interpersonal, and moral.  Evolutionary psychologists believe core disgust developed earliest in evolutionary history, followed by animal-nature, interpersonal and then moral disgust developed most recently.


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