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Research Summary: Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease Free essay! Download now

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Research Summary: Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease

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Research Summary: Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease essay previewResearch Summary: Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease essay previewResearch Summary: Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease essay preview

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Research Summary

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Presentation
Research Summary: Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease
Original Citation: Valerie Curtis*, Tamer Rabie and Robert Aunger
Section
What?
Connections


Background Information

Disgust is thought to be universal in humans and has an associated facial expression that is recognizable across cultures. Its physiological manifestations include lowered blood pressure and galvanic skin response, nausea and actions including stopping, dropping the object of disgust and shuddering. MRI studies have located a neurological substrate for perceiving facial expressions of disgust in the anterior insula cortex.


Evolutionary
Cognition
Physiology


Theoretical Propositions

Demonstrate quantitatively that disgust is an adaptation that serves to prevent a disease.

Be felt more strongly when faced with a disease-salient stimulus than with a similar stimulus with less salience;
Operate similarly across cultures;
Be more pronounced in females, since they play a double role in protecting both self and offspring from disease;
Become less potent as an individual’s reproductive potential declines;
Be more strongly evoked by contact with strangers than close relatives, because strangers may carry novel pathogens.









Methods

A survey placed on the BBC science Web site and advertised at the end of the first part of the documentary on ‘Human Instincts’ shown on BBC1 on 23 October 2002 in the UK.

By 1 March 2003 the test had been completed by over 77 000 people from 165 countries.

Respondents were asked to rate 20 photographs, which appeared one-by-one on separate web pages, for disgust on a Likert scale of 1–5.

7 pair àrandomly place within the 20

One depicting a disease-salient stimulus and another matched to be as similar as possible, but without disease relevance.




Results

The plate of ‘bodily fluid’ was scored as 61% more disgusting than the plate of blue slime
Normal person vs. feverish and spotty-faced person, the respondent average disgust score more than doubled, from 1.5 to 3.1
the addition of people to the empty underground train carriage changed the average disgust scale score from 1.2 to 2.0
The white towel with a blue colored stain was scored half as disgusting, on average, as the same towel with the stain depicted in reddish-yellow, to represent blood and bodily secretions
Both skin lesions were found to be disgusting, but the lesion depicting pus and inflammation was judged significantly more so than the clean burn

More than 98% of people found the disease-relevant pictures equally, or more disgusting, than their pairs.

Same pair wise comparisons were made for nine different cultural regions à disease- relevant stimulus was found to be significantly more disgusting than its non-threatening ...

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