Friday, March 11, 2011
Moral Disgust Skin Deep
A study suggests our reactions to immorality and physical repugnance may be more similar than we think, because both elicit the same expression of disgust.
Subjects were asked to sip awful-tasting beverages. They made similar faces when shown photos of dirty toilets, etc. Subjects were then treated unfairly - e.g. given $1 while a partner got $9 - again exhibiting the same expressions of disgust.
Scientists conclude that aversion to bad behavior and bad food may have evolved from a primitive defense mechanism that nowadays protects us from both insult and injury.