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Disgust as a Basic, Sexual, and Moral Emotion

posted on 2023-08-11, 07:54 authored by Sinem SöylemezSinem Söylemez, Aycan Kapucu
Disgust is a basic emotion that increases the organism's survival success by preventing the transfer of pathogens. In this regard, it directs cognitive processes and motivates avoidance behaviors that do not allow pathogens to enter the body. Moreover, disgust has many specific characteristics that distinguish it from other basic emotions. Firstly, unlike other basic emotions, it contaminates neutral objects around it and causes difficult-to-change learnings. Another specific characteristic of disgust is that it is based on ideational processes. Objects, situations, and behaviors that do not contain pathogens can also cause disgust. In this regard, disgust appears not only as a basic emotion but also as different adaptations in different fields. In this context, two distinct adaptations of disgust stand out: sexual and moral disgust. These two adaptations of disgust benefit from disgust-related behaviors and motivations in different ways. Sexual disgust works as a gene protection mechanism while moral disgust helps maintain social rules. The specific characteristics of disgust and its effects on cognitive processes such as attention and memory interact with each other. In conclusion, the multi-faceted structure of disgust shows that it needs to be studied more in the sub-fields of psychology. Strohminger (2014) states that “disgust is a psychological nebula that needs to be discovered". However, it is observed that disgust has not adequately addressed. This review aims to examine the various aspects of disgust and highlight its importance from different perspectives.


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Lead author country

  • Turkey

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Manisa Celal Bayar University

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