Article

Disgust: A Predictor of Social Conservatism and Prejudicial Attitudes Toward Homosexuals

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Abstract

Disgust is a universal human emotion that evolved to protect individuals from ingesting harmful substances such as toxins and pathogens. Recent research suggests that disgust is a component of a “behavioral immune system” that encourages individuals to avoid people and situations that could potentially result in bodily contamination. The purpose of the current research was to explore the role of social conservatism in the link between disgust and prejudicial attitudes toward homosexuals. The results of a correlational study (Study 1) indicated that disgust sensitivity was positively correlated with socially conservative values. However, the relation was specific to conservative values regarding intergroup relations and potential contamination. In Study 2, disgust was experimentally manipulated. Inducing disgust resulted in increased prejudicial attitudes toward contact with homosexuals for conservative individuals and reduced prejudice for liberals. The results of these studies support the claim that disgust is part of a “behavioral immune system” that promotes socially conservative value systems and can lead to increased negative attitudes toward outgroups.

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... In this regard, previous research (Ohlander et al., 2005;Terrizzi et al., 2010) suggests that right-leaning political conservatives may⎯especially⎯tend to oppose gay characters in children's animated cartoons because such characters can be perceived as a threat to traditional (family) values and their social identity (Tajfel & Turner, 1986;Van Bavel & Packer, 2021). ...
... Extending previous research (Ohlander et al., 2005;Terrizzi et al., 2010), we also examined whether the effects on age classifications are higher for individuals who describe themselves as politically conservative (politically right-leaning) compared to liberals (politically left-leaning). Also, in an exploratory analysis we examined if effects are stronger for people who belief in so-called protection myths (i.e., the myth of protecting children from the confrontation with homosexuality). ...
... Previous research has repeatedly demonstrated that political orientation is an important predictor for heterosexual individuals' attitudes toward gay individuals (Haddock et al., 1993;Ohlander et al., 2005;Terrizzi et al., 2010) and issues such as gay marriage. For instance, Becker and Scheufele (2011) showed that individuals who self-identified as conservative were more likely to oppose gay marriage (see also Pew Research Center, 2019). ...
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Children's movies and animated cartoons today increasingly include gay characters, which can be welcomed from an equal rights perspective. Yet, an intensive public debate has been initiated regarding the (age-) appropriateness of such depictions. So far, it is unclear how heterosexual adults react to gay characters in children's animated cartoons. Drawing from social identity theory, we conducted an experiment in Germany. We created an animated cartoon trailer using the animation software Powtoon. The story of the cartoon was kept identical only manipulating whether participants were exposed to a heterosexual or lesbian couple in the trailer. Results of the experiment revealed that adults showed higher age ratings for a cartoon trailer version featuring a lesbian couple. Yet, this effect was moderated and only politically right-leaning persons and politically moderates were affected. No effects were detected for left-leaning individuals. An exploratory analysis further revealed a moderation effect for individuals who belief in protection myths (i.e., protecting children from the confrontation with homosexuality) resulting in higher age ratings for these persons compared to individuals who do not belief in protection myths. Implications are discussed and age rating measures are proposed as an unobtrusive possibility of examining evaluations of gay individuals in communication research.
... Many of the proposed outputs of the behavioral immune system involve prejudices, including those directed toward immigrants (Aarøe et al., 2017;Faulkner et al., 2004), homeless people (Clifford & Piston, 2017), obese individuals (Lieberman et al., 2012;van Leeuwen et al., 2015), individuals with physical deformities (Ryan et al., 2012), unfamiliar individuals , and, pertinent to this article, gay men and lesbian women (Crawford et al., 2014;Pirlott & Cook, 2018;Terrizzi et al., 2010). The fact that prejudices toward gay men and lesbian women have a deep history (Pickett, 2018) and are present across religiously and economically diverse cultures (Jäckle & Wenzelburger, 2015;Pew Research Center, 2013) suggests that these prejudices might have roots in so-called fundamental motivational systems (Kenrick et al., 2010;Neel et al., 2016), such as those for mating and pathogen avoidance. ...
... Regardless of what causes individual differences in disgust sensitivity, substantial evidence suggests that people who score higher on disgust sensitivity instruments tend to be more prejudiced toward gay men (Crawford et al., 2014;Inbar et al., 2009;Kam & Estes, 2016;Lai et al., 2014;Olatunji, 2008;Schein et al., 2016;Smith et al., 2011;Terrizzi et al., 2010Terrizzi et al., , 2012. These findings align with experiments reporting that disgust inductions (e.g., with stimuli resembling a pathogen hazard, such as odor of feces or spoiled food) result in increased antigay prejudice (Cunningham et al., 2013;Dasgupta et al., 2009;Inbar et al., 2012). ...
... So-called outgroup-avoidance perspectives propose that outgroup members are adapted to and carry pathogens endemic to their ecologies of origin, and are consequently a greater pathogen threat than ingroup members. Hence, individuals who are more pathogen avoidant adopt more socially conservative attitudes, which motivate avoidance of interactions with outgroups (Faulkner et al., 2004;Fincher & Thornhill, 2012;Terrizzi et al., 2010). Recent work has cast doubt upon foreign ecological origin underlying relations between disgust sensitivity and intergroup prejudices (Ji et al., 2019;Tybur et al., 2016;van Leeuwen & Petersen, 2018) and suggested that the inclination to associate foreigners with pathogen threats could be a byproduct of general hyper-vigilance against unfamiliar others (Aarøe et al., , 2017. ...
Article
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Previous work has reported a relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice toward various social groups, including gay men and lesbian women. It is currently unknown whether this association is present across cultures, or specific to North America. Analyses of survey data from adult heterosexuals ( N = 11,200) from 31 countries showed a small relation between pathogen disgust sensitivity (an individual-difference measure of pathogen-avoidance motivations) and measures of antigay attitudes. Analyses also showed that pathogen disgust sensitivity relates not only to antipathy toward gay men and lesbians, but also to negativity toward other groups, in particular those associated with violations of traditional sexual norms (e.g., prostitutes). These results suggest that the association between pathogen-avoidance motivations and antigay attitudes is relatively stable across cultures and is a manifestation of a more general relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice towards groups associated with sexual norm violations.
... One item was adapted from the Negativity Toward Sexual Minorities subscale of the Revised Male Role Norms Inventory (Levant et al. 2010): "Gay men and lesbian women should have the same rights as heterosexual couples to marry and have children". Finally, one item was adapted from political opinion questions (Terrizzi et al. 2010): "Marijuana should be legalized". ...
... Two items adapted from political opinion questions (Terrizzi et al. 2010) measured participants' attitudes towards the minimum wage and healthcare. The two items were: "The minimum wage should be raised" and "The government should adopt a policy to guarantee health care to all workers and their families". ...
Article
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Objectives Individual differences in socio-political attitudes can reflect mating interests, and attitudes can also shift in response to mating market cues, including mating competitor quality. In four experiments, we tested whether competitors’ attractiveness (Experiments 1F&1M) and income (Experiments 2F&2M) would influence socio-political attitudes (participants’ self-reported attitudes towards promiscuity and sexual liberalism, traditional gender roles, and the minimum wage and healthcare). Methods We collected data from American participants online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (total N = 787). In all experiments, each participant was randomly assigned to one of four experimental treatments in a between-subjects design (three levels of mating competitor quality and a control group), and to one of five stimuli within each treatment. Results Overall, the experimental treatments largely did not predict participants’ socio-political attitudes. The fifteen unique experimental stimuli, however, did significantly affect participants’ perception of their competitors’ quality. That perception, in turn, affected some socio-political attitudes. Namely, individuals who perceived their competitors to be of high mate-value were more supportive of traditional gender roles and, only for men in Experiment 2M, more opposed to promiscuity and sexual liberalism than individuals who perceived competitors to be of low mate-value. These results only applied to sexually unrestricted, but not restricted, women. Perceived mating competition did not affect attitudes towards the minimum wage and healthcare. Conclusions Experimental cues of mating competition shifted participants’ perceptions of their competitors’ mating quality and these perceptions in turn shifted some socio-political attitudes. We interpret these results considering broader arguments about plasticity in socio-political attitudes.
... Empirisch zeigen sich aber komplexe Zusammenhänge. So korrelierte hohe allgemeine Ekelsensibilität positiv mit Vorurteilen, Diskriminierung (Faulkner, Schaller, Park & Duncan, 2004;Navarrete & Fessler, 2006;Terrizzi Jr., Shook & Ventis, 2010) und konservativen Einstellungen (Inbar, Pizarro, Iyer & Haidt, 2012). Andere Studien fanden negative Zusammenhänge zwischen allgemeiner Ekelsensibilität und rachsüchtigem Verhalten (Richman, DeWall, Pond, Lambert, Finchman, 2014) und zwischen MES und aggressivem Verhalten (Pond et al., 2012;Tybur et al., 2020), selbst wenn für Ärgerneigung und Feindseligkeit kontrolliert wurde (Bondü & Richter, 2016). ...
... Auch positive Korrelationen zwischen MES und anderen Schutzfaktoren vor Aggression wie Empathie und Täter-US unterstreichen ähnlich wie in früheren Studien (Bondü & Richter, 2016) die prosoziale Orientierung von MES. Dies ist möglicherweise ein Gegensatz zur allgemeinen Ekelsensibilität (Inbar et al., 2012;Terrizzi et al., 2010). MES sollte in der Forschung zur moralischen Entwicklung im Jugendalter und als moralbezogenes Trait, das womöglich Bezüge zu moralischer Identität aufweist, daher stärkere Beachtung finden. ...
Article
Zusammenfassung. Theoretischer Hintergrund: Moralische Ekelsensibilität (MES) beschreibt die Tendenz, sich von Normverstößen abgestoßen zu fühlen. Im Erwachsenenalter war MES negativ mit Aggression assoziiert; für das Jugendalter liegen kaum Studien vor. Fragestellung: Wir untersuchten, ob MES und Aggression im Jugendalter zusammenhängen und mit moralischer Ärgersensibilität (MÄS) zusammenspielt. Methode: 359 Jugendliche berichteten MES, MÄS, Formen und Funktionen von Aggression sowie verschiedene Kontrollvariablen. Ergebnisse: MES korrelierte negativ mit allen Aggressionsmaßen und sagte diese über MÄS hinaus vorher, nicht jedoch bei Berücksichtigung von Kontrollvariablen wie Ärgerneigung oder Neurotizismus. Diskussion und Schlussfolgerung: Moralische Ekelsensibilität hängt im Jugendalter negativ mit Aggression zusammen und lässt sich von moralischer Ärgersensibilität differenzieren. Sie verdient als moralbezogenes Trait daher weitere Aufmerksamkeit. Andere Variablen eigenen sich jedoch besser zur Prädiktion von Aggression.
... Indeed, a recent cross-cultural study (Tybur et al., 2016) involving 11,000 people from 30 countries showed that national parasite stress consistently relates to different proxies of conservatism. An association between conservatism and disease incidence manifests also in a positive correlation of conservatism with disgust sensitivity (Terrizzi et al., 2010), and preferences for cleanliness and order in conservative individuals (Carney et al., 2008). Research summarized by Carney et al. (2008) indicates that conservatism relates to withdrawal and restrain in interpersonal interactions. ...
... The same relates to conservative values that can be transferred from generation to generation (Carney et al., 2008;Klofstad et al., 2013). In addition, conservatism positively correlates with disgust sensitivity (Terrizzi et al., 2010), and this can further decrease affective touch likelihood in conservative individuals. Interestingly, high culture-level conservatism was related to reduced opposite-sex touch interactions (see Supplemental Information S7.1). ...
Article
Full-text available
Interpersonal touch behavior differs across cultures, yet no study to date has systematically tested for cultural variation in affective touch, nor examined the factors that might account for this variability. Here, over 14,000 individuals from 45 countries were asked whether they embraced, stroked, kissed, or hugged their partner, friends, and youngest child during the week preceding the study. We then examined a range of hypothesized individual-level factors (sex, age, parasitic history, conservatism, religiosity, and preferred interpersonal distance) and cultural-level factors (regional temperature, parasite stress, regional conservatism, collectivism, and religiosity) in predicting these affective-touching behaviors. Our results indicate that affective touch was most prevalent in relationships with partners and children, and its diversity was relatively higher in warmer, less conservative, and religious countries, and among younger, female, and liberal people. This research allows for a broad and integrated view of the bases of cross-cultural variability in affective touch.
... Our analyses additionally controlled for several demographic variables that may be relevant to our dependent measures. Specifically, we controlled for gender, education, and political affiliation because prior findings suggest these demographic variables are associated with outgroup attitudes, including susceptibility to anti-immigrant framing (Albertson and Gadarian, 2013;Hodson et al., 2013;Hughes and Tuch, 2003;Knoll et al., 2011;Merolla et al., 2013;Terrizzi et al., 2010). That is, women, people with higher educational attainment, and people with liberal rather than conservative political identities tend to express lower levels of outgroup bias (Hodson et al., 2013;Hughes and Tuch, 2003;Terrizzi et al., 2010), which may influence respondent scores on our dependent measures. ...
... Specifically, we controlled for gender, education, and political affiliation because prior findings suggest these demographic variables are associated with outgroup attitudes, including susceptibility to anti-immigrant framing (Albertson and Gadarian, 2013;Hodson et al., 2013;Hughes and Tuch, 2003;Knoll et al., 2011;Merolla et al., 2013;Terrizzi et al., 2010). That is, women, people with higher educational attainment, and people with liberal rather than conservative political identities tend to express lower levels of outgroup bias (Hodson et al., 2013;Hughes and Tuch, 2003;Terrizzi et al., 2010), which may influence respondent scores on our dependent measures. Partisan affiliation in particular has been shown to shape the impact of anti-immigrant messaging (Albertson and Gadarian, 2013;Knoll et al., 2011;Merolla et al., 2013). ...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a notable increase in the expression of prejudicial and xenophobic attitudes that threaten the wellbeing of minority groups and contribute to the overall public health toll of the virus. However, while there is evidence documenting the growth in discrimination and xenophobia, little is known about how the COVID-19 outbreak is activating the expression of such negative attitudes. The goal of the current paper therefore was to investigate what aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic may be contributing to this rise in expressions of prejudice and xenophobia. More specifically, this study used an experimental design to assess the effects of using stigmatized language to describe the virus as well as the threat to physical health and economic wellbeing posed by the virus on COVID-19 prejudice. Data were collected from a national sample of 1,451 adults residing within the United States. Results from 2 x 2 x 2 between-subjects analyses of covariance demonstrated that emphasizing the connection between China and COVID-19, rather than framing the virus neutrally, increased negative attitudes toward Asian Americans, beliefs that resources should be prioritized for Americans rather than immigrants, and general xenophobia. Emphasizing the severity of the economic impact of the virus also increased beliefs that Asian Americans are a threat to resources and general xenophobia. By contrast, messages which emphasized the serious health risks of COVID-19 did not increase racism or xenophobia. Our findings suggest that specific types of public health messaging related to infectious diseases, especially framing the virus in terms of its country of origin or its likely economic impact, may elicit prejudice and xenophobia. Public health campaigns that emphasize the severity of the virus, however, are not likely to trigger the same negative attitudes. Implications for public health responses to health crises are discussed.
... Research concerning disgust (e.g., Chapman et al. 2009;Olatunji and Sawchuk 2005;Rozin et al. 1993;Tybur et al. 2009) generally agrees that an evolutionary perspective best describes the development and the function of that emotion, converging to the idea that people respond to the undesired state of disgust through an instinctive (physical and psychological) avoidance of the disgust eliciting stimulus (Haidt et al. 1984). This instinctive avoidant response implies not only the immediate physical removal and mental rejection of any disgust eliciting threats present in the environment (Rozin and Fallon 1987), but also a series of psychological responses of rejection as social exclusion (Navarrete and Fessler 2006;Sherman and Haidt 2011), conformity to social norms (Tybur et al. 2013), conservative political orientation (Inbar et al. 2012), social conservatism (Terrizzi et al. 2012) and high prejudice (Taylor 2007). ...
... The fact that a negative emotion as disgust generates an immediate preference for unfamiliar stimuli (i.e., brands) seems to be quite unexpected and can be attributed to the certainty appraisal that characterizes such a negative emotion. This finding is opposite to previous research according to which disgust sensitivity is positively correlated with conservatism, and therefore with the rejection of novelty, and thus the rejection of unfamiliar brand (e.g., Inbar et al. 2012;Tybur et al. 2010;Terrizzi et al. 2012). However, previous research did not distinguish between the dual nature of the disgust response, and therefore it was not underlined that the general conservatism deriving from disgust, and therefore the rejection of unfamiliar brands, is a stable but subsequent response, anticipated by an instinctive avoidance of the more conceptually closer stimulus (familiar brands), in favor to the farthest one (unfamiliar brands). ...
Article
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Disgust represents an undesired state that signals the presence of threats in the external environment, leading to a change in needs and motivations aimed at coping with the threats. The present research aims at studying the effects of disgust in a consumer setting, proposing that once disgusted consumers show an immediate avoidance for familiar (vs. unfamiliar) brands. However, this avoidant reaction is followed by an opposite response of preference for familiar (vs. unfamiliar) brands. Moreover, conversely to the immediate response of avoidance of familiar brands, the subsequent response of preference for familiar brands is even stronger in case the consumer is depleted, showing a more deliberative nature of that response. The proposed results contribute to both emotion and consumer research debates demonstrating how an externally induced emotion, as disgust, influences consumers’ brand choice over time. Moreover, the present findings offer interesting suggestions to brand managers and retailers in order to better promoting the commercialized brands .
... Notably, some in the United States across the political spectrum, but more common among conservatives and those with authoritarian dispositions, experience disgust reactions to the LGBT community, especially to transgender Americans (Casey, 2016;Inbar et al., 2009;Wang et al., 2019). It may be dispositional, but it can be induced as wellwhen experimentally manipulated, disgust sensitivity promoted more negative attitudes toward LGBT Americans among conservatives, but more positive ones among liberals (Terrizzi, Shook, and Ventis, 2010). Highlighting the socialized nature of this reaction, disgust sensitivity parses reactions to LGBT Americans (negative) and evangelicals (positive), while it does not distinguish among groups, such as gun rights groups, not at the core of the culture wars (Crawford, Inbar, and Maloney, 2014). ...
Article
Objective What factors shape public support for service refusals carried out in the name of the free exercise of religion? Existing analyses treat the businesses refusing to serve LGBT citizens as fungible. We hypothesize that the religious context does not matter and that reactions are consistent with the role of socialized disgust. Methods We engage the same experimental design in two 2019 samples, one of 800 Colorado adult residents and one of 1,010 Protestants. The 1 × 2 × 2 design enables a contrast between a control, conditions that vary the business between a florist and photographer, and conditions that vary the religious nature of the event. Results The results suggest that the religious nature of the context is immaterial and that reactions generally conform with the role of disgust, especially for those socialized to feel it—high attending evangelicals. Conclusion We affirm the importance of the context of service delivery for religious freedom attitudes and discuss the role of religion.
... The political ideology item was adapted from Jost and colleauges (Jost, 2006;Jost et al., 2007) and consisted of a nine-point, vertical scale where participants were asked to: "Please rate your, personal political orientation" ranging from, at the top, 1 "Extremely Conservative" to 9 "Extremely Liberal, " with a midpoint of 5 "Center/Moderate." This item has been used in previous moral foundations research in the United States and United Kingdom and is considered stable and is frequently included at the end of the study (Carney et al., 2008;Graham et al., 2009;Terrizzi et al., 2010;Krosch et al., 2013;Crawford et al., 2015;Janoff-Bulman and Carnes, 2016). All participants were fully debriefed upon study completion. ...
Article
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Moral foundations research suggests that liberals care about moral values related to individual rights such as harm and fairness, while conservatives care about those foundations in addition to caring more about group rights such as loyalty, authority, and purity. However, the question remains about how conservatives and liberals differ in relation to group-level moral principles. We used two versions of the moral foundations questionnaire with the target group being either abstract or specific ingroups or outgroups. Across three studies, we observed that liberals showed more endorsement of Individualizing foundations (Harm and Fairness foundations) with an outgroup target, while conservatives showed more endorsement of Binding foundations (Loyalty, Authority, and Purity foundations) with an ingroup target. This general pattern was found when the framed, target-group was abstract (i.e., ‘ingroups’ and ‘outgroups’ in Study 1) and when target groups were specified about a general British-ingroup and an immigrant-outgroup (Studies 2 and 3). In Studies 2 and 3, both Individualizing-Ingroup Preference and Binding-Ingroup Preference scores predicted more Attitude Bias and more Negative Attitude Bias toward immigrants (Studies 2 and 3), more Implicit Bias (Study 3), and more Perceived Threat from immigrants (Studies 2 and 3). We also demonstrated that increasing liberalism was associated with less Attitude Bias and less Negative Bias toward immigrants (Studies 2 and 3), less Implicit Bias (Study 3), and less Perceived Threat from immigrants (Studies 2 and 3). Outgroup-individualizing foundations and Ingroup-Binding foundations showed different patterns of mediation of these effects.
... From this perspective, prejudicial attitudes (e.g., anti-immigration and prejudice toward sexual minorities) J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f Journal Pre-proof and the socially conservative values (e.g., right-wing authoritarianism; RWA) that promote them could operate, in part, as a crude means of mitigating the spread of infectious disease by discouraging contact with outgroup members. The BIS has been associated with a wide range of prejudicial attitudes and socially conservative values including anti-immigration, prejudice against gay men and lesbian women, RWA, and in-group favorability and out-group derogation (Hodson, & Costello, 2007, Navarrete & Fessler, 2006, Patev et al. 2019, Terrizzi et al., 2010. ...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to explore the relationships between the behavioral immune system (BIS), Political Ideology, and disease avoidant attitudes (e.g., attitudes toward vaccination and attitudes about COVID-19). The BIS (e.g., disgust) is believed to be the first line of defense against pathogens and has been linked to socially conservative values. Ironically, however, the BIS has also been associated with anti-vaccination attitudes. In the current study, American participants (N = 139) completed an online survey with self-report measures of the BIS (e.g., disgust sensitivity and perceived infectability), political ideology, COVID-19 attitudes, and anti-vaccination attitudes. Disgust sensitivity was positively correlated with anti-vaccination attitudes but not significantly correlated with attitudes toward COVID-19. Perceived infectability, however, was negatively correlated with anti-vaccination attitudes and positively correlated with anxiety and knowledge about COVID-19. Right-wing authoritarianism and support for Trump were negatively correlated with knowledge and anxiety about COVID-19 and positively correlated with anti-vaccination attitudes.
... Yet disgust not only prevents people from ingesting contaminants and coming into contact with contagious others, but also serves to protect social and moral order by coordinating condemnation of norm violations (Tybur et al., 2013). In this vein, the experience of feeling disgusted may psychologically spill over into one's moral judgments and promote socially conservative attitudes (Dasgupta et al., 2009;Hodson et al., 2013;Inbar, Pizarro, Iyer, et al., 2012;Terrizzi et al., 2010). ...
Article
The first months of 2020 rapidly threw people into a period of societal turmoil and pathogen threat with the COVID‐19 pandemic. By promoting epistemic and existential motivational processes and activating people's behavioral immune systems, this pandemic may have changed social and political attitudes. The current research specifically asked the following question: As COVID‐19 became pronounced in the United States during the pandemic's emergence, did people living there become more socially conservative? We present a repeated‐measures study (N = 695) that assessed political ideology, gender role conformity, and gender stereotypes among U.S. adults before (January 25–26, 2020) versus during (March 19–April 2, 2020) the pandemic. During the pandemic, participants reported conforming more strongly to traditional gender roles and believing more strongly in traditional gender stereotypes than they did before the pandemic. Political ideology remained constant over time. These findings suggest that a pandemic may promote the preference for traditional gender roles.
... Bakker et al. 2020). This seems the case at least for issues like abortion, homosexuality, and immigration (Terrizzi et al. 2010;Kim et al. 2016;Aarøe et al. 2017), though not nearly as much for problems such as fair taxation (Elad-Strenger et al. 2020). Yet of course, abortion and homosexuality are bound to invoke mental images of bodily fluids like blood and semen (and immigration, images of mass invasions) much sooner than economic issues do. ...
Article
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We social animals must balance the need to avoid infections with the need to interact with conspecifics. To that end we have evolved, alongside our physiological immune system, a suite of behaviors devised to deal with potentially contagious individuals. Focusing mostly on humans, the current review describes the design and biological innards of this behavioral immune system, laying out how infection threat shapes sociality and sociality shapes infection threat. The paper shows how the danger of contagion is detected and posted to the brain; how it affects individuals’ mate choice and sex life; why it strengthens ties within groups but severs those between them, leading to hostility toward anyone who looks, smells, or behaves unusually; and how it permeates the foundation of our moral and political views. This system was already in place when agriculture and animal domestication set off a massive increase in our population density, personal connections, and interaction with other species, amplifying enormously the spread of disease. Alas, pandemics such as COVID-19 not only are a disaster for public health, but, by rousing millions of behavioral immune systems, could prove a threat to harmonious cohabitation too.
... Lazarus (1991) claimed that anger occurs when individuals' goals are threatened and they accuse others for that, resulting in an aggressive tendency towards them. Concerning disgust, people who are more easily disgusted tend to describe themselves as conservative and to score higher on the Social Dominance Orientation Scale (SDO; Brenner & Inbar, 2015;Hodson & Costello, 2007;Terrizzi et al., 2010). Therefore, we test whether the relationship between social equality orientation and positive attitudes towards immigrants may be explained by reduced anger and disgust with respect to proimmigrant national initiatives. ...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated that low social dominance orientation (social equality orientation) promotes empathy with disadvantaged group members. In three studies, we tested a model relating preference for egalitarianism to positive attitudes towards immigrants through emotional experiences (pride, guilt, moral anger/ anger, disgust). Studies 1 and 2 showed that social equality orientation was positively related to proimmigrant attitudes through increased pride in helping immigrants, controlling for participants' gender, age, and political orientation. Such a preference for egalitarianism was unrelated to proimmigrant attitudes through guilt for not helping immigrants and moral anger concerning mistreatment of immigrants. By focusing on emotional experience concerning proimmigrant national initiatives (e.g., integrating immigrants into the labor market), Study 3 corroborated the indirect effect of social equality orientation on proimmigrant attitudes through increased pride, controlling for participants' gender, age, political orientation, as well as competitive jungle and dangerous world beliefs. Although much weaker, we also found a positive association between social equality orientation and proimmigrant attitudes through reduced anger, while no significant association through guilt and disgust was found. Results suggest that, relative to guilt, anger, and disgust, pride is the key channel through which preference for egalitarianism is related to positive attitudes towards immigrants. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.
... Tasting a disgusting beverage has been found to be associated with greater feelings of moral disgust (Eskine, Kacinik, & Prinz, 2011). Moral disgust may reduce acceptance of certain groups of outsiders such as homosexuals and cause others to reject this group (Terrizzi, Shook, Ventis, 2010). White protestors may have responded to videos depicting brutalization of black citizens with disgust resulting in a rejection of the police by white protesters. ...
Conference Paper
Scholarly investigations on sustainable tourism (ST) approaches has recently led to the emerging of social entrepreneurship (SE) as alternative approach to increase ST. While studies on the experiences of tourists on tourism commercial enterprises are available, very little research on tourists’ perceptions on the role of touristic social enterprises has been undertaken. This paper uses Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach, to reveal the perceptions of tourists on the potential impact of social entrepreneurship on sustainable tourism in the context of Tanzania. Applying netnography research design, we performed a thematic analysis of online 540 tourists’ reviews about touristic social enterprises in Tanzania, posted in TripAdvisor from 2011 to 2018. The findings suggest that tourists regard touristic social enterprises as instrumental to sustainable tourism, in multiple sustainability’s dimensions. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge by revealing a multidimensional impact of tourism social enterprises from tourists’ perspectives using netnography methods. We further contribute to the growing literature linking SE and ST by incorporating the reciprocity of tourists’ psychological benefits with community empowerment dimensions. We also build on and extend the relation between social entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism’s investigations to empirically underexplored Africa. In the light of TBL’s dimensions, tourists perceives SE, to be playing a significant role in enhancing sustainability in tourism. Tourists experience and observe the evidences of the provisions of new job opportunities, recycling of waste materials, fair wage and treatment of the employees and the inclusion of the marginalised community members. This work concludes with practical implications for social enterprises and other key stakeholders of SE, ST and sustainable development (SD) in general. Keywords– Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, Social entrepreneurship, Netnography, Triple bottom line.
... In other words, outgroup members have historically been a source of contamination (Suedfeld and Schaller, 2002). Therefore, negative attitudes or prejudice toward outgroups protect us by avoiding them reflecting an adaptive strategy (Terrizzi et al., 2010;Hodson et al., 2013). Thus far, several studies have examined the relationship between disgust and intergroup attitudes based on the disease-avoidance function of disgust. ...
Article
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Disgust is one of the basic emotions and is part of the behavioral immune system, which evolutionarily protects humans from toxic substances as well as from contamination threats by outgroup members. Previous works reveal that disgust not only activates humans’ defense against potential individual and collective threats, but also leads to severe moral judgments, negative intergroup attitudes, and even conservative political orientations. As is already known, nationalism is an ideology that features both negative feelings toward outgroups and beliefs about native superiority or privileges. Evidence from previous studies suggests that disgust is related to nationalism’s several components but lacks direct research on nationalism and disgust. The current study examines the relationship between disgust and nationalism in China at both individual and regional levels. In study 1, participants temporally induced disgust (vs. control) increasing the adoption of nationalism. In Study 2, we analyzed covariation in disgust expression in the Chinese micro-blog Weibo and the nationalism index as part of an online large-scale political survey http://zuobiao.me/ at the province level across Mainland China. The results show that online expression of disgust positively predicts nationalistic orientation at the regional level. Finally, we discuss how the findings shed light on research concerning online emotion expression and potential future directions.
... (conservative, moderate, liberal, other).5 There is evidence for a link between political conservatism and meat consumption(Gallup 2018;Hodson and Earle 2018) as well as negative attitudes toward homosexuality(Haslam and Levy 2006;McLeod et al. 1999;Terrizzi et al. 2010).6 We note that the non-narrative corrections were rated as somewhat more informative; this was not surprising given that the narrative corrections contained some conversational elements. ...
Article
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Misinformation often has an ongoing effect on people’s memory and inferential reasoning even after clear corrections are provided; this is known as the continued influence effect. In pursuit of more effective corrections, one factor that has not yet been investigated systematically is the narrative versus non-narrative format of the correction. Some scholars have suggested that a narrative format facilitates comprehension and retention of complex information and may serve to overcome resistance to worldview-dissonant corrections. It is, therefore, a possibility that misinformation corrections are more effective if they are presented in a narrative format versus a non-narrative format. The present study tests this possibility. We designed corrections that are either narrative or non-narrative, while minimizing differences in informativeness. We compared narrative and non-narrative corrections in three preregistered experiments (total N = 2279). Experiment 1 targeted misinformation contained in fictional event reports; Experiment 2 used false claims commonly encountered in the real world; Experiment 3 used real-world false claims that are controversial, in order to test the notion that a narrative format may facilitate corrective updating primarily when it serves to reduce resistance to correction. In all experiments, we also manipulated test delay (immediate vs. 2 days), as any potential benefit of the narrative format may only arise in the short term (if the story format aids primarily with initial comprehension and updating of the relevant mental model) or after a delay (if the story format aids primarily with later correction retrieval). In all three experiments, it was found that narrative corrections are no more effective than non-narrative corrections. Therefore, while stories and anecdotes can be powerful, there is no fundamental benefit of using a narrative format when debunking misinformation.
... For example, research suggests that disgust responses partially underly prejudice against different groups such as the homeless, immigrants, and homosexuals (e.g., Aarøe et al., 2017;Adams et al. 2014;Clifford & Piston, 2017;Inbar et al., 2009). Other research suggests that the tendency to experience disgust is associated with ideological leanings, such that less disgust-sensitive individuals tend to be more liberal rather than conservative (e.g., Smith et al., 2011;Terrizzi et al., 2010). Research also suggests that disgust shapes the processing of political arguments, such that people feel disgust and other aversive emotions in the face of political arguments they disagree with, motivating them to avoid careful consideration of opposing viewpoints (MacKuen et al., 2010). ...
Article
A bstract We introduce the Politics and the Life Sciences Special Issue on Disgust and Political Attitudes discussing the importance of understanding state and trait disgust, the innovative and transparent process by which registered reports and preregistered studies were chosen and funded, and the manuscripts that make up this special issue. This essay concludes by discussing future research directions in disgust and political attitudes, as well as the benefits of a transparent review process that avoids the “file drawer problem” of unpublished null findings.
... Together, orthodoxy, fundamentalism, and authoritarianism represent much of what is termed "conservative religiousness." Social and religious conservatism often vary together and have both been associated with negative attitudes toward sexual minorities on a congregant level (Finlay & Walther, 2003;Terrizzi et al., 2010). This homonegativity may be conceptually similar to in-group biases held by socially liberal individuals against Christian fundamentalists (Conway et al., 2018) in that both are directed toward a perceived representation of a values framework that threatens the individual's framework (Brandt & Van Tongeren, 2017). ...
... We also collected information about participants' degree of economic conservatism. Because economic conservatism is not reliably related to disgust sensitivity (e.g., Inbar et al., 2009;Inbar, Pizarro, Iyer, & Haidt, 2012;Olatunji, 2008;Smith, Oxley, Hibbing, Alford, & Hibbing, 2011;Terrizzi, Shook, & Ventis, 2010), we predicted that economic conservatism would not be associated with taste sensitivity-a pattern of results that would provide additional convergent support for our hypothesized mechanism of disgust. Finally, we included a wider range of demographic questions (e.g., race/ethnicity, income) to more conclusively rule out the possibility that demographic factors might account for our observed effects. ...
Article
Previous research has shown that political attitudes are highly heritable, but the proximal physiological mechanisms that shape ideology remain largely unknown. Based on work suggesting possible ideological differences in genes related to low-level sensory processing, we predicted that taste (i.e., gustatory) sensitivity would be associated with political ideology. In 4 studies (combined N = 1,639) we test this hypothesis and find robust support for this association. In Studies 1-3, we find that sensitivity to the chemicals PROP and PTC-2 well established measures of taste sensitivity-are associated with greater political conservatism. In Study 4, we find that fungiform papilla density, a proxy for taste bud density, also predicts greater conservatism, and that this association is partially statistically mediated by disgust sensitivity. This work suggests that low-level physiological differences in sensory processing may shape an individual's political attitudes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... While it is usually associated with considerations of food, sex, and disease, research suggests that disgust also plays a role in political behavior. For instance, some research has associated disgust with individuals' ideological leanings (e.g., Inbar, Pizarro, Iyer, & Haidt, 2012;Smith, Oxley, Hibbing, Alford, & Hibbing, 2011;Terrizzi, Shook, & Ventis, 2010), while other research has associated it with prejudice against vulnerable groups such as the homeless, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community (e.g., Aarøe, Petersen, & Arceneaux, 2017;Clifford & Piston, 2017;Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe, & Bloom, 2009;Navarrete & Fessler, 2006). Of significance for democratic societies, research has also suggested that this emotion influences political deliberation such that disagreeable political arguments evoke disgust in some individuals thereby motivating them to avoid thoughtful evaluation of views they oppose (MacKuen, Wolak, Keele, & Marcus, 2010). ...
... people [13], gay people [14], and immigrants [15]. Recent conservative policies in the United States (e.g. ...
Article
The traditional perspective on the political ideology and prejudice relationship holds that political conservatism is associated with prejudice, and that the types of dispositional characteristics associated with conservatism (e.g. low cognitive ability, low Openness) explain this relationship. This conclusion is limited by the limited number and types of groups studied. When researchers use a more heterogeneous array of targets, people across the political spectrum express prejudice against groups with dissimilar values and beliefs. Evidence for this worldview conflict perspective emerges in both politics and religion, as well as individual differences such as Openness, disgust sensitivity and cognitive ability. Although these two perspectives differ substantially, there is some identifiable common ground between them, particularly the assumption of some psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. We discuss some remaining open questions related to worldview conflict reduction, causal processes, the robustness of the assumptions of the traditional perspective, and differences between political elites and the public.
... Several studies reveal that disgust sensitivity is associated with the holding of politically conservative attitudes (Helzer and Pizarro 2011;Hodson and Costello 2007;Inbar et al. 2009a, b;Terrizzi et al. 2010; but also see Tybur et al. 2010). Heightened needs to manage uncertainty and threat are correlated positively with conservatism, and negatively with liberalism, report Jost and Amodio (2012, 58). ...
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Neuroscience proffers evidence that self‐described conservatives have stronger fear responses and aversion to risk than self‐described liberals. Combined with studies showing that judicial ideology drives the content of Supreme Court majority opinions, I argue that conservatism is linked to risk focus in Supreme Court majority opinions. I use the Language Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software on a sample of Supreme Court majority opinions, and find that conservative opinions score higher on the LIWC dimension called Risk Focus than liberal opinions. This effect is enhanced in criminal procedural cases. If conservative judges’ perceptions of risk are inflated, and if such perceptions are reflected in the binding opinions that they author, then such opinions’ heightened sense of risk may influence the perceptions of risk of lower‐court judges, which may in turn affect their decision‐making in such important areas as sentencing and convictions. Such a pattern raises important questions for the thousands of lower‐court decisions which impact the basic liberties of American citizens. Objective To determine whether judicial ideology affects the focus on risk of Supreme Court opinions. Methods Original, random sampling of 1200‐1300 Court opinions; use of LIWC software to analyze risk focus of each opinion; regression analysis of ideology on risk focus. Results As ideology becomes more conservative, the Court's opinions demonstrate increased evidence of focus on risk. This effect is pronounced in criminal procedure cases. Conclusion The theory is supported. Increasingly conservative Court opinions demonstrate an increased focus on risk.
... Political and social leaders use the threat of contamination and disease to differentiate between which groups are worthy of help and rights and draw boundaries around who is part of the political community, making the BIS a potent tool in advocating for more socially conservative policies. Strong disgust sensitivity at the individual level predicts authoritarian views, opposition to immigration, and support for traditional family values (Feinberg et al., 2014;Inbar et al., 2012;Terrizzi et al., 2010). Experimental activation of the BIS also increases conservatism: college students incidentally exposed to hygiene cuesa hand sanitizer, "clean up after using" signsreported more conservative political attitudes (Helzer & Pizarro, 2011;Terrizzi et al., 2013). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of all Americans, but the severity of the pandemic has been experienced unevenly across space and time. Some states saw sharp rises in COVID-19 cases in early March, whereas case counts rose much later in the rest of the country. In this article, we examine the relationship between exposure to COVID-19 and citizens' views on what type of measures are required to deal with the crises, and how experience with and exposure to COVID-19 is associated with greater partisan polarization. We find consistent evidence of partisan divergence in pandemic response policy preferences across the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic: Republicans support national control measures whereas Democrats support welfare policies, and interparty differences grow over time. We find only limited evidence that exposure or experience moderates these partisan differences. Our findings are consistent with the view that Americans' interpret the COVID-19 pandemic in fundamentally partisan manner, and that objective pandemic conditions play at most a minor role in shaping mass preferences.
... However, exotic origins were also expected to increase intentions to engage in xenophobic behaviors, like avoiding people of Asian descent. Given the strong interrelations between stigma, stereotyping, and disgust (Terrizzi, Shook, & Ventis, 2010;Vartanian, Thomas, & Vanman, 2013, the current study examined how COVID-19 stigma related to xenophobic disease responses and intentions to avoid animal products while adjusting for trait levels of disgust and endorsement of Asian stereotypes. We further hypothesized that COVID-19 stigma mediated the influence of disease origin messaging (e.g., focusing on snakes as the source) on xenophobic and animal avoidance intentions. ...
Article
Many novel diseases are of zoonotic origin, likely including COVID-19. Describing diseases as originating from a diverse range of animals is known to increase risk perceptions and intentions to engage in preventative behaviors. However, it is also possible that communications depicting use of exotic animals as food sources may activate stereotypes of cultures at the origin of a disease, increasing discriminatory behaviors and disease stigma. We used general linear modeling and mediation analysis to test experimental data on communications about zoonotic disease origins from the critical first two months leading up to the declaration of a global pandemic. Results suggest that communications about potential familiar food origins (pigs) affected people's risk perceptions, health behaviors, and COVID-19 stigma compared to more exotic food sources (e.g., snakes). Participants (N = 707) who read descriptions of exotic origins viewed the virus as riskier and reported stronger intentions to engage in preventative behaviors than those who read about familiar origins (pigs). However, reading exotic origin descriptions was also associated with stronger intentions to avoid Asian individuals and animal products. These results are critical for both theory and public policy. For theory, they are the first to experimentally demonstrate that zoonotic origin descriptions can impact intentions to engage in discriminatory behaviors for cultures viewed as the origin of a novel infectious disease. For policy, they offer clear, actionable insights on how to communicate about risks associated with a novel zoonosis while managing the potential impact on discriminatory behaviors and stigma.
... It has been well-established that ideological variables determine prejudice towards different social groups. For instance, right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) has been shown to predict prejudice towards gays and lesbians (Terrizzi, Shook, & Ventis, 2010), as well as women and immigrants (Zakrisson, 2005). While RWA predicts the prejudice towards "dangerous" groups (e.g., terrorists), social-dominance orientation (SDO) does so for "derogated" ones (e.g., psychiatric patients) (Duckitt & Sibley, 2007). ...
Article
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Empirical research on the impact of linguistic labels on social perceptions is scarce, especially in the context of ethnic groups. Across three studies (N = 1185), we investigated the impact of labels on perceptions of the Romani ethnic group by non-Romani participants in Serbia. In Study 1 (N = 244), we found some evidence that the Romani elicit more positive perceptions (more sociable and competent) when labeled with the neutral (vs. derogatory) term. In two follow-up studies, we focused on investigating potential mechanisms. In Study 2, we tested whether positive perceptions emerged via perceived higher status, while in Study 3 we focused on the motivation to respond without prejudice and sensitivity to hate speech. Study 2 (N = 467) replicated the labeling effect showing that Romani were perceived more positively (more sociable and moral) when labeled with the neutral term. However, we found no support for perceived group status as a mechanism. Study 3 (N = 474) did not corroborate the labeling effect but found the higher external motivation to respond without prejudice (potential mechanism). Meta-analytic effects showed that Romani were perceived as more moral, sociable, and competent when the neutral term was used. These effects were to some extent moderated by ideology as they existed only for right-wing individuals. We conclude that the effect is much smaller than the effects in previous comparable studies.
... Five items measured attitudes to traditional gender roles, "Men should be ready to accept the financial responsibility for a date" (Murnen & Byrne, 1991); "Men should cherish and protect women" (Glick & Fiske, 1996); "Men should sacrifice to provide for women" (Glick & Fiske, 1996); "If you could go on a date tonight, where would you like to go?" (item created by the authors; participants had to choose from a list of increasingly expensive restaurants); "If you could go on a date tonight, who do you think should pay?" (item created by the authors). Finally, two items adapted from Terrizzi et al. (2010) measured attitudes to increasing the minimum wage and access to healthcare: "The minimum wage should be raised" and "The government should adopt a policy to guarantee health care to all workers and their families". ...
Article
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Objective Trait mate value covaries with several socio-political attitudes. One’s dating popularity in a mating market can, however, shift one’s self-perceived mate value in that market. We tested whether dating popularity could therefore also shift socio-political attitudes, and whether trait mate value could moderate this effect. Method Heterosexual participants (N = 237) reported their trait mate value. Participants then recorded a video of themselves and received video responses from five opposite-sex peers, each consisting of either positive or negative romantic feedback—forming the manipulation (popularity: from low to high). Afterwards, we measured participants’ attitudes to traditional gender roles, casual sex, minimum wage and healthcare, and implicit sexual and political attitudes. Results Unpopular men reported less support for casual sex than popular men. There was no main effect on women. Unpopular men had lower positive affect than popular men, and in turn men with lower positive affect reported less support for casual sex and for increasing the minimum wage and access to healthcare than men with higher positive affect. Unpopular low mate-value women reported more support for casual sex than popular low mate-value women. Unpopular men of low and average mate value reported less support for casual sex than popular men of low and average mate value. There was no effect on average mate-value women and high mate-value women and men. Conclusions Changes in positive affect due to dating popularity influence some of men’s, but not women’s, socio-political attitudes, and trait mate value moderates the effects of popularity on attitudes to casual sex.
... Past research shows that individualizing moral values negatively and binding moral values positively associate with intergroup prejudice (see eg., [71][72][73]). Also, compared to conservatives, liberals tend to express lesser degree of generalized prejudice [74] and evaluate different outgroups more positively (e.g., [75][76][77]. One, therefore, may argue that liberals evaluate the outgroup more positively, employing a set of strongly interconnected individualizing moral values, and their evaluation is more independent from the causal effect of other binding moral values. It is also worth pointing out that, generally, individualizing moral values are related to growth value types and binding moral values are related to self-protection value types (see for example [78]). ...
Article
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Using the 9 th round of European Social Survey (ESS), we explored the relationship between Europeans’ basic values and their attitudes towards immigrants. Employing a latent class analysis (LCA), we classified the respondents based on three items capturing the extent to which participants would support allowing three groups of immigrants to enter and live in their countries: immigrants of same ethnic groups, immigrants of different ethnic groups, and immigrants from poorer countries outside Europe. Four classes of Europeans with mutually exclusive response patterns with respect to their inclusive attitudes towards immigrants were found. The classes were named Inclusive (highly inclusive), Some (selective), Few (highly selective), and Exclusive (highly exclusive). Next, using a network technique, a partial correlation network of 10 basic human values was estimated for each class of participants. The four networks were compared to each other based on three network properties namely: global connectivity , community detection , and assortativity coefficient . The global connectivity (the overall level of interconnections) between the 10 basic values was found to be mostly invariant across the four networks. However, results of the community detection analysis revealed a more complex value structure among the most inclusive class of Europeans. Further, according to the assortativity analysis, as expected, for the most inclusive Europeans, values with similar motivational backgrounds were found to be interconnected most strongly to one another. We further discussed the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
... Because feelings of disgust are typically elicited in response to viewing animals and/or sexual activity (e.g., Rozin et al., 2008), those who perceive a greater divide between themselves and animals might also have more negative attitudes towards those who do not share their own sexual orientation. Indeed, research shows that higher disgust sensitivity as well as inductions of disgust can cause more prejudice by heterosexual individuals against members of the LGBTQ community in general, and especially towards gay men (e.g., Inbar et al., 2009;Morrison et al., 2019;Terrizzi et al., 2010; for a review see Kiss et al., 2020). Research in the framework of TMT indicates that disgust stimuli as well as reminders of creatureliness and sexuality cause increased death thought accessibility (Goldenberg et al., 2001;Cox et al., 2007). ...
Article
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The current investigation tested if people's basic belief in the notion that human beings have developed from other animals (i.e., belief in evolution) can predict human-to-human prejudice and intergroup hostility. Using data from the American General Social Survey and Pew Research Center (Studies 1-4), and from three online samples (Studies 5, 7, 8) we tested this hypothesis across 45 countries, in diverse populations and religious settings, across time, in nationally representative data (N = 60,703), and with more comprehensive measures in online crowdsourced data (N = 2,846). Supporting the hypothesis, low belief in human evolution was associated with higher levels of prejudice, racist attitudes, and support for discriminatory behaviors against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ), Blacks, and immigrants in the United States (Study 1), with higher ingroup biases, prejudicial attitudes toward outgroups, and less support for conflict resolution in samples collected from 19 Eastern European countries (Study 2), 25 Muslim countries (Study 3), and Israel (Study 4). Further, among Americans, lower belief in evolution was associated with greater prejudice and militaristic attitudes toward political outgroups (Study 5). Finally, perceived similarity to animals (a construct distinct from belief in evolution, Study 6) partially mediated the link between belief in evolution and prejudice (Studies 7 and 8), even when controlling for religious beliefs, political views, and other demographic variables, and were also observed for nondominant groups (i.e., religious and racial minorities). Overall, these findings highlight the importance of belief in human evolution as a potentially key individual-difference variable predicting racism and prejudice. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... In particular, some individuals are more "disgust sensitive" than othersexperiencing a stronger emotional response to disgusting stimuli (Curtis et al., 2011;Haidt et al., 1994;Tybur et al., 2009). These individual differences in disgust sensitivity, in turn, have implications for such characteristics as avoidance of novel stimuli (Faulkner et al., 2004;Shook et al., 2019), intergroup prejudice (Hodson & Costello, 2007;Karinen et al., 2019;Navarrete & Fessler, 2006), and political conservatism (Inbar et al., 2009;Terrizzi et al., 2010). ...
Article
Individuals vary in their sensitivity to disgust—differences that have implications for intergroup attitudes, political ideology, and beyond. However, the source of this variability in disgust sensitivity remains a subject of debate. In this work, we test the hypothesis that sensitivity to disgust is “calibrated” by an individual's concern about disease threats in their local ecology. Leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic, we obtain strong support for this hypothesis, finding that disgust sensitivity increased following the COVID-19 outbreak and that the degree of this increase was moderated by an individual's subjective concern about contracting the disease. This work fills a longstanding theoretical gap regarding the sources of variability in disgust sensitivity, while challenging the view that disgust sensitivity is an immutable individual difference. Given the role of disgust in motivating intergroup prejudice and political ideology, we anticipate that these increases in disgust sensitivity are likely to have important downstream societal implications.
... For instance, people with benign facial disfigurements elicit the same disgust response as those with infectious diseases, even when participants are told the disfigurement is merely a superficial birthmark (Ryan et al., 2012;Schaller & Duncan, 2007). The hypersensitivity of the BIS may explain why a wide variety of outgroups can elicit disgust (i.e., intergroup disgust; Hodson et al., 2013), not only targets with deviant physical appearances, but also those with a subjectively foreign religion or ethnicity (e.g., Choma et al., 2016) and those perceived to violate traditional social norms (e.g., Terrizzi et al., 2010). ...
Article
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The behavioral immune system (BIS) is an evolved psychological mechanism that motivates prophylactic avoidance of disease vectors by eliciting disgust. When felt toward social groups, disgust can dampen empathy and promote dehumanization. Therefore, we investigated whether the BIS facilitates the dehumanization of groups associated with disease by inspiring disgust toward them. An initial content analysis found that Nazi propaganda predominantly dehumanized Jews by portraying them as disease vectors or contaminants. This inspired three correlational studies supporting a Prophylactic Dehumanization Model in which the BIS predicted disgust toward disease-relevant outgroups, and this disgust in turn accounted for the dehumanization of these groups. In a final study, we found this process of prophylactic dehumanization had a downstream effect on increasing anti-immigrant attitudes during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, consistent with the evolutionary logic of a functionally flexible BIS, this effect only occurred when the threat of COVID-19 was salient. The implications of these results for the study of dehumanization and evolutionary theories of xenophobia are discussed. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s40806-021-00296-8.
... Sexual minorities, in particular, may be considered as groups which deviate from culturally shared beliefs about gender roles and sexuality, threating traditional norms, behaviors, and values (Cottrell & Neuberg, 2005;Jayaratne et al., 2006). Conversely, lower levels of authoritarianism tend to be associated with less rigidity with respect to moral values and traditional beliefs, leading to more inclusiveness towards minorities (Terrizzi et al., 2010). Moreover, we found that higher religiosity was associated with more homonegative attitudes. ...
Article
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Homonegativity refers to a series of prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes towards individuals perceived as homosexuals. Previous studies indicated that some personality traits (i.e., neuroticism, low openness to experience), as well as specific ideological attitudes (i.e., conservatism, authoritarianism) and higher levels of psychopathology make individuals more prone to show homonegative attitudes. However, no studies have compared these three dimensions in order to identify their different role in homonegativity. For this reason, the aim of this study was to simultaneously evaluate the association of ideological, personality, and psychopathological factors with homonegativity in adults living in Italy. Participants were 307 heterosexual adults (males = 46%) ranging in age between 19 and 66 years (M = 28.74, SD = 10.65), who completed four self-report questionnaires: Modern Homophobia Scale, Right-Wing Authoritarianism Scale, NEO Five-Factor Inventory 3, and Symptom Check List-90-R. A structural equation model was computed to examine the relation between ideological, personality, and psychopathological factors and homonegativity. Results showed that ideological factors, particularly authoritarian attitudes and religiosity, were mostly related with homonegativity, while lower agreeableness and lower psychopathology were significantly albeit more weakly associated with homonegativity in adults living in Italy. Methodological limitations and implications for interventions are discussed.
... Globally, male sex workers endure a great deal of stigma commonly linked to negative stereotypes of sexually transmitted diseases and homosexual sexual orientation (Jiao & Bungay, 2019;Oldenburg et al., 2014;Padilla et al., 2008;Tsang et al., 2019). Although theories referred to in the current study make few predictions of why men who engage in transactional sexual exchanges might be dehumanized, some evidence suggests that negativity towards male sex workers is the result of disgust-based reactions towards homosexual relationships (Terrizzi et al., 2010) or stereotype-based reactions to promiscuous same-sex relationships that undermine the goals of marriage (Pinsof & Haselton, 2016. Understanding the absence or presence of sex differences in these phenomena may provide needed insight into the ultimate, functional drivers of this stigma. ...
Article
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Women are more likely than men to be sexualized, objectified and dehumanized. Female sex workers experience stigma and violence associated with these judgements at far higher rates than other women. Here, we use a pre-registered experimental design to consider which aspects of sex work – the level of sexual activity, earned income, or perceived autonomy of the work – drive dehumanization. A first group of participants (N = 217) rated 80 vignettes of women varying by full-time employment, hobbies and interests on humanness. These ratings were subtracted from the ratings of a second group of participants (N = 774) who rated these same vignettes which additionally described a part-time job, hobby or activity that varied in sexual activity, income earned and autonomy over one’s actions. We find that women and especially men dehumanize women they believe are engaging in penetrative sex. We also find that women’s autonomy of, but not their income from, their sexual activity increases dehumanization. Our findings suggest that opposition to women’s ability to pursue casual sex and generalizations about the exploitative conditions of sex work may drive the harshest negative prejudice towards female sex workers and, by similar mechanisms, women’s sexuality in general.
... Unsurprisingly, attitudes towards immigrants and minority groups are plagued with negative emotional responses and even hostile attitudes (Navarrete & Fessler, 2006). Consequently, negative responses towards sexual minorities such as gays and lesbians are often motivated by disgust (Nega, Pateraki, Saranti, & Pasia, 2016;Terrizzi Jr, Shook, & Ventis, 2010), anxiety, as well as fear (Grey, Robinson, Coleman, & Bockting, 2013;Herek & Capitanio, 1998). ...
Article
Prior studies suggest that scientific knowledge may improve attitudes towards sexual minorities such as gays and lesbians. But in what context does this ring true? The present study aims to test whether scientific literacy can predict attitudes towards gays and lesbians when considering the variables pathogen avoidance and religious fundamentalism in a moderated moderation model. A total of 1,398 participants (female = 74.9%, Mage = 25.15, SD = 5.84) completed our online survey. We found that an increase in scientific literacy can indeed predict an improvement in attitudes towards sexual minorities, specifically gays and lesbians. However, this effect was weakened in the condition of high pathogen avoidance, specifically for one of the dimensions of pathogen avoidance—germ aversion. When considering the value of religious fundamentalism in a three‐way interaction, we found that scientific literacy can remain effective in predicting attitudes towards sexual minorities only within the condition of low germ aversion. Thus, threat avoidance such as germ aversion, contrary to religious fundamentalism, may diminish the benefits of scientific literacy in improving attitudes towards sexual minorities. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article's Community and Social Impact Statement.
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Attitudes toward sexual relationships can have evolutionary underpinnings because these attitudes often serve, or at least reflect, the attitude holder’s mating self-interest. Sexually restricted individuals, for example, hold conservative attitudes toward same-sex and opposite-sex sexual relationships because conservative attitudes benefit their mating strategies (e.g., monogamy). Certain mating market cues, however, can shift attitudes. In two experiments recruiting Americans and Australians (total N = 1298), we took a data-driven approach to test whether experimental manipulations of (1) promiscuity among either homosexuals (gays and lesbians) or heterosexuals and (2) the financial amount that either homosexuals (gays and lesbians) or heterosexuals invest in weddings would shift attitudes toward same-sex marriage, dating, and romantic spending. In Experiment 1, we did not replicate previous findings that homosexual promiscuity affects attitudes to same-sex marriage, nor did we find any effects of priming heterosexual promiscuity. However, priming participants with the notion that either homosexuals or heterosexuals were highly promiscuous increased support for traditional relationship norms among sexually restricted Australian (but not American) men. This effect was smaller when we controlled for participant sexual orientation, because primes of high homosexual or heterosexual promiscuity increased support for these traditional norms in exclusively heterosexual Australians, but decreased support in non-heterosexual Australians. Experiment 2 found that American and Australian men’s opposition to same-sex marriage increased when they were led to believe that either homosexual or heterosexual weddings were cheap, even when controlling for participant sexual orientation. Overall, results provide some support for the argument that mating market cues affect attitudes toward sexual relationships.
Article
One debate about theories of disgust surround whether the emotion is elicited by adaptationist or by cultural sensitivities. We examine this question by examining the disgust that profanity elicits. This research examines two moderators that predict consumers’ acceptance of vulgar language within advertising contexts. Specifically, we focus on product type (new vs old) and consumers’ political ideology (conservative vs liberal), proposing that conservatives (vs liberals) are less accepting of new (vs existing) products advertised using vulgar language. This is potentially because, we propose and find, conservative consumers are more sensitive to the disgust emotion, and new products advertised with vulgar language elicit more disgust. We conducted three experiments to test the hypotheses. Experiment 1 finds support for our overall hypothesis while Experiments 2 and 3 find evidence for the role of disgust via both mediation and moderation techniques. Our findings suggest that the disgust emotion is driven by cultural and not purely by evolutionary sensitivities. We are also the first authors, to our knowledge, to connect the disgust literature to vulgar language. Hence, our findings offer both practical and theoretical implications regarding the use of vulgar language in marketing.
Chapter
The relationship between politics and biopsychology is complex. But first, an explanation of biopsychology itself is in order. As a biopsychologist I have frequently been asked to explain my speciality even to other psychologists. Biopsychology is all about the biology of behavior, human and animal. Biopsychologists are trained in the methodology of behavioral research and in biology but are psychologists not biologists. There are neurological underpinnings to behavior and these are being explored vigorously. Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system in relation to function and behavior. Political science and neuroscience have been connecting for the last decade (Arciniegas & Anderson, 2017; Chawke & Kanai, 2016; Fowler & Schreiber, 2008; Haas, 2016; McDermott, 2009; Pedersen, Muftuler, & Larson, 2018). Biopsychology is part of that mix (Jost, Nam, Amodio, & Bavel, 2014; Kandler, Bleidorn, & Riemann, 2012; Marcus, 2013; Norris, Gollan, Berntson, & Cacioppo, 2010; Settle, Dawes, Loewen, & Panagopoulos, 2017).
Article
The status of disgust as a sociomoral emotion is debated. We conducted a stringent test of whether social stimuli (specifically, political outgroup members) can elicit physical disgust, as distinct from moral or metaphorical disgust. We employed stimuli (male faces) matched on baseline disgustingness, provided other ways for participants to express negativity toward outgroup members, and used concrete self-report measures of disgust, as well as a nonverbal measure (participants’ facial expressions). Across three preregistered studies (total N = 915), we found that political outgroup members are judged to be “disgusting,” although this effect is generally weaker for concrete self-report measures and absent for the nonverbal measure. This suggests that social stimuli are capable of eliciting genuine physical disgust, although it is not always outwardly expressed, and the strength of this result depends on the measures employed. We discuss implications of these results for research on sociomoral emotions and American politics.
Chapter
Authoritarian populism is spreading through the United States, Western and Eastern Europe, threatening long existing democracies. This is a response to social change and to the economic consequences of the 2008 recession. Donald Trump is riding the crest of this social movement and undermining American democracy in profoundly disturbing ways. His relentless use of fear, anger, lies, and intimidation places him very much in the mode of Adolph Hitler.
Article
This research investigates the influence of disgust, as an emotion, on charitable giving. We propose that feeling disgusted decreases consumers’ engagement in charitable behavior (e.g., giving money and time) because it lowers empathy—and empathy is an important determinant in charity-giving decisions. Across three experimental studies in which we manipulate incidental or integral disgust, we illustrate a negative effect of feeling disgusted on charitable giving, with empathy playing an explanatory role. The effect of disgust mainly arises when disgust is paired with an other-focused (not self-focused) ad appeal. The findings shine light on the links between disgust, empathy, and charity. They offer implications for non-profit organizations that depend on the goodwill of donors while at the same time their very cause or even promotional materials may elicit disgust.
Chapter
This chapter deals with formalistic representation. I explore whether, as they are elected to represent their constituency and not LGBTQ people and communities, out LGBQ MLAs and MPs in fact represent LGBTQ people and communities. LGBQ MLAs and MPs understand their mandate of representation, first and foremost, as universalist: it is about representing a constituency. However, they also conceive of their representational role as inclusive of LGBTQ people and communities as an additional, or ancillary, responsibility to their core mandate. Identity politics is put forward to explain this seemingly inconsistent argument: it is because of “who they are” that LGBQ MLAs and MPs represent LGBTQ people and communities. In this context, I also explore the role of heterosexual allies in LGBTQ representation.
Article
The fields of political psychology and election studies often live separate lives. One reason has been the difficulty of including long psychological question batteries in the high-quality, representative samples that are the hallmark of election studies. In this study, we examine a novel one-item measure of psychological differences in sensitivity to one particular emotion: disgust. We demonstrate that disgust sensitivity serves as a foundational political difference that colors a very large range of social and political attitudes and behaviors: including ideology, political engagement, reactions towards outgroups, support for government intervention, behavior during a pandemic, and vote choice.
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While there is substantial research on COVID-19’s general framing in the news, little is known about the antecedents and moderators of using moral language in communicating the disease to audiences. In this study, we rely on the Model of Intuitive Morality and Exemplars to explore how news media’s attention on COVID-19 and moralizing language in COVID-19 news vary with respect to ultimate (historical pathogen prevalence) and proximate (spread of COVID-19) socio-psychological factors. Specifically, we analyzed 1,024,800 news headlines from 28 countries published throughout 2020 and applied automated content analysis for moral language extraction. Our results provide support for increased media attention and higher levels of moralizing language in COVID-19 news for regions with high historical pathogen prevalence and COVID-19 spread. We discuss the theoretical impact of these findings in view of the socio-psychological relevance of moralizing language for disease-related news and point towards future research directions.
Chapter
This chapter examines what we know about radicalisation and recruitment into violent extremism in Indonesia over the past 70 years. It reviews the emergence of proto-Islamist violent extremism in Indonesia (well before the first formulations of jihadi thought by Egypt’s Sayyid Qutb) with the Darul Islam (DI) movement in the early 1950s. It tracks the evolution of Salafi jihadism in Indonesia in successive chapters from the original DI insurgency, through Salafi extremism and the revival of DI in an underground insurgency in the 1970s, led by Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Baasyir, and their retreat, or hijrah to Malaysia in the 1980s. This is followed by the sending of mujahideen to Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s which culminated in the declaration of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in 1993, (with more extreme JI splinter factions carrying out terrorist bombings in the 2000s) leading to the engagement of JI and other extremists in the conflict in Syria and Iraq as foreign terrorist fighters (FTF), first with Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and then with ISIS. The second half of the chapter examines the sociology and psychology of radicalisation in Indonesia by unpacking survey research carried out by LSI (Lingkaran Survei Indonesia) for the Wahid Foundation. It draws on national survey data collected in April 2016 and October 2017 with adult Muslims across Indonesia and a third survey, from March 2017, of Muslim youth involved in Rohis (Rohani Islam) religious instruction classes (Rohis). The analysis examines the key issues of imagined enemies and out groups, intergroup contact and support for extremism, the role of toxic masculinity and the contribution of digital literacy. It finds significant correlation between all of these and levels of support for violent and hateful extremism. And in particular, it finds that there is convincing empirical evidence indicating that higher levels of religious observance and religious knowledge, together with belonging to mainstream religious organisations, are associated with lower levels of support for violent extremism. Contact with religious out-groups is found to be an important factor associated with reduction of violent extremism. The quality of the relationship established with out-group members is crucial: the more substantial it is, the more likely it is to shape attitudes and perceptions. This chapter incorporates a comprehensive compilation of the current critical literature from researchers and practitioners.
Thesis
This project examines the understudied, but prevalent, phenomenon of white racial sympathy for blacks in American politics. Reversing course from a long tradition of studying racial antipathy, I argue that racial sympathy, which I define as white distress over black misfortune, shapes public opinion among a subset of white Americans. In Chapter 1, I introduce the project and provide an overview of the dissertation’s organization. Chapter 2 begins with a summary of the relevant racial attitudes literature, laying the foundation for the theory of racial sympathy. In Chapter 3, I describe the qualitative exploratory research I conducted to form an original measure of racial sympathy, the racial sympathy index. I examine the properties of the index, including its convergent validity. In Chapter 4, I explore the relationship between racial sympathy and public opinion using four national samples. These analyses reveal that racial sympathy is consistently and significantly associated with support for public policies perceived to benefit African Americans, while accounting for measures of principles and prejudice. Additionally, racial sympathy is distinct from a general social sympathy, as it does not influence policy opinion related to other groups, such as women. The concept is tightly associated with race; as evidence of this, I find that racial sympathy is activated when the suffering of African Americans is made salient, a phenomena I explore through a series of experiments in the dissertation’s fifth chapter. In Chapter 6, I argue that racial sympathy enhances our understanding of the complexity of intergroup relations. Here I suggest that sympathy has the potential to motivate a variety of political opinions and behavior. I also discuss the limits to its reach. Overall, the project is a companion to the rich literature in political science on racial prejudice. The dissertation demonstrates the multifaceted role of race in American politics and public opinion.
Article
Global crises become increasingly more frequent and consequential. Yet, the impact of these crises is unevenly distributed across countries, leading to discrepancies in (inter)national crisis-regulating institutions’ ability to uphold public trust and safeguard their constituents’ well-being. Employing the paradigm of citizens as customers of political institutions, drawing on attribution and socio-political trust theories, and using the COVID-19 pandemic as empirical context, we investigate how consumers’ relative perceptions of local impact following a global crisis affect the psychological processes of institutional trust-formation and consumer well-being. Conducting one survey-based study in two countries affected disproportionately by the pandemic’s first wave (USA, Greece) and one experimental study in a third country (Italy) during the pandemic’s second wave, we find that institutional trust declines more in countries whose citizens hold perceptions of higher relative local impact following a global crisis; institutional blame attributions explain trust erosion; institutional distrust decreases consumer well-being and adherence to institutional guidelines; consumers’ globalization attitudes immunize international institutions from blame and distrust; and political conservatives transfer blame and distrust from national to international institutions amidst global crises. The findings enrich institutional branding and trust literatures and have implications for stakeholders involved in global crisis-management (policymakers, political marketers, institutional brand managers).
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Political liberalism and conservatism differ in provide versus protect orientations, specifically providing for group members' welfare (political Left) and protecting the group from harm (political Right). These reflect the fundamental psychological distinction between approach and avoidance motivation. Conservatism is avoidance based; it is focused on preventing negative outcomes (e.g., societal losses) and seeks to regulate society via inhibition (restraints) in the interests of social order. Liberalism is approach based; it is focused on advancing positive outcomes (e.g., societal gains) and seeks to regulate society via activation (interventions) in the interests of social justice. As evidenced by specific policy positions, the domains of social regulation and individual autonomy are mirror images for liberals and conservatives. These differences in regulation and motivation suggest fundamental divergences in conceptions of the group and bases of group membership (i.e., societal inclusion), with conservatives focusing on intergroup boundaries and common social identity, and liberals focusing on intragroup variability and interdependence. Implications for society are discussed.
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We addressed four components of attitudes toward gay men and lesbians: condemnation/tolerance, morality, contact, and stereotypes. We hypothesized that attitudes would vary by component and by the sex of the person being rated. Results indicated that men (n = 137) held more negative attitudes toward homosexuals than did women (n = 133) on all factors except stereotypes, and that attitudes toward gay men were more negative than were attitudes toward lesbians on all factors. On all subscales except stereotypes, men rated gay men more negatively than lesbians. Women rated gay men and lesbians similarly on the condemnation/tolerance subscale and the morality subscale, but rated lesbians more negatively on the contact subscale. The results confirm that to understand sex differences in attitudes toward homosexuality fully, researchers must consider both attitude component and the sex of the person being rated.
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J. Millham and L. I. Jacobson's (1978) 2-factor model of socially desirable responding based on denial and attribution components is reviewed and disputed. A 2nd model distinguishing self-deception and impression management components is reviewed and shown to be related to early factor-analytic work on desirability scales. Two studies, with 511 undergraduates, were conducted to test the model. A factor analysis of commonly used desirability scales (e.g., Lie scale of the MMPI, Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale) revealed that the 2 major factors were best interpreted as Self-Deception and Impression Management. A 2nd study employed confirmatory factor analysis to show that the attribution/denial model does not fit the data as well as the self-deception/impression management model. A 3rd study, with 100 Ss, compared scores on desirability scales under anonymous and public conditions. Results show that those scales that had loaded highest on the Impression Management factor showed the greatest mean increase from anonymous to public conditions. It is recommended that impression management, but not self-deception, be controlled in self-reports of personality. (54 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Extending a model relating xenophobia to disease avoidance [Faulkner, J., Schaller, M., Park, J. H., & Duncan, L. A. (2004). Evolved disease-avoidance mechanisms and contemporary xenophobic attitudes. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 7(4), 333–353.], we argue that both inter- and intragroup attitudes can be understood in terms of the costs and benefits of interacting with the in-group versus out-groups. In ancestral environments, interaction with members of the in-group will generally have posed less risk of disease transmission than interaction with members of an out-group, as individuals will have possessed antibodies to many of the pathogens present in the former, in contrast to those prevalent among the latter. Moreover, because coalitions are more likely among in-group members, the in-group would have been a potential source of aid in the event of debilitating illness. We conducted two online studies exploring the relationship between disease threat and intergroup attitudes. Study 1 found that ethnocentric attitudes increase as a function of perceived disease vulnerability. Study 2 found that in-group attraction increases as a function of disgust sensitivity, both when measured as an individual difference variable and when experimentally primed. We discuss these results with attention to the relationships among disease salience, out-group negativity, and in-group attraction.
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Relationships among disgust sensitivity, the Big Five, and gender were explored using a sample of 132 men and women undergraduates. Results indicated that disgust sensitivity does vary according to gender, which is consistent with previous research, with women reporting greater sensitivity to disgust stimuli than do men. The data also supported the hypothesized positive relationship between neuroticism and disgust sensitivity as well as a negative relationship between openness to experience and disgust sensitivity. In addition, positive relationships were found between two other Big Five factors (Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) and disgust sensitivity. These results suggest that a better understanding of the disgust sensitive individual may come about by studying accompanying personality characteristics.
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Two studies demonstrate that a dispositional proneness to disgust ("disgust sensitivity") is associated with intuitive disapproval of gay people. Study 1 was based on previous research showing that people are more likely to describe a behavior as intentional when they see it as morally wrong (see Knobe, 2006, for a review). As predicted, the more disgust sensitive participants were, the more likely they were to describe an agent whose behavior had the side effect of causing gay men to kiss in public as having intentionally encouraged gay men to kiss publicly-even though most participants did not explicitly think it wrong to encourage gay men to kiss in public. No such effect occurred when subjects were asked about heterosexual kissing. Study 2 used the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Nosek, Banaji, & Greenwald, 2006) as a dependent measure. The more disgust sensitive participants were, the more they showed unfavorable automatic associations with gay people as opposed to heterosexuals. Two studies demonstrate that a dispositional proneness to disgust ("disgust sensitivity") is associated with intuitive disapproval of gay people. Study 1 was based on previous research showing that people are more likely to describe a behavior as intentional when they see it as morally wrong (see Knobe, 2006, for a review). As predicted, the more disgust sensitive participants were, the more likely they were to describe an agent whose behavior had the side effect of causing gay men to kiss in public as having intentionally encouraged gay men to kiss publicly-even though most participants did not explicitly think it wrong to encourage gay men to kiss in public. No such effect occurred when subjects were asked about heterosexual kissing. Study 2 used the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Nosek, Banaji, & Greenwald, 2006) as a dependent measure. The more disgust sensitive participants were, the more they showed unfavorable automatic associations with gay people as opposed to heterosexuals.
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Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44.1 (2001) 17-31 --A. K. Reinhart (1990) Anthropologists have long puzzled over why certain objects and activities are avoided, reviled, or proscribed in many cultures. Numerous theories have been proposed, but as Reinhart (1990) suggests above, a full explanation remains elusive. Psychologists recently have begun to explore the nature of the revulsion that is occasioned by the sight of excreta, rotten food, slime, and bugs. They have described and categorized the emotion of disgust and have even proposed a location in the brain where disgust may be seated. However, the total body of research into disgust is so scant that it has been described as the "forgotten emotion of psychiatry" (Phillips et al. 1998). Our interest in disgust has its roots in a decade of work exploring hygiene behavior in Africa, India and Europe. The failures of the health education approach in promoting hygiene has drawn attention to the need to understand existing motivations and practices more fully. Although there is much variation in the behaviors that are considered acceptable and appropriate in different societies, we found signs of a consistent pattern. We found that hygiene was important to all of the people that we worked with, and that hygienic behavior often was motivated by the desire to avoid or remove things that were found disgusting. Review of the anthropological, psychological, historical, and medical literature suggests a wide variety of explanations for hygienic behavior. However, few writers offer explanations for the origins of hygiene or consider how it might be related to the disgust emotion. This paper explores the nature of disgust and argues that it can best be understood as a mechanism for defense against infectious disease. Disgust is a powerful emotion and is thought to be a human universal. Darwin (1872) counted it as one of the six basic emotions. The manifestations of disgust include a particular facial expression (wrinkling of the nose, pulling down the corners of the mouth), characteristic neurological signs (lowered blood pressure, lowered galvanic skin response, and nausea) and characteristic actions (stopping, dropping the object of disgust, shuddering or saying "yuk!") (Rozin et al. 1993). The facial expression of disgust has been found to be recognizable across cultures (Ekman and Friesen 1986; Mesquita and Frijda 1992). Disgust apparently is distinguishable from fear in that disgust involves a suspension of activity, while fear heightens activity in preparation for fight or flight (Phillips et al. 1998). Recent magnetic resonance imaging studies have proposed a specific neurological substrate for disgust, located in the anterior insular cortex (Phillips et al. 1997). Though the details of what constitutes a disgusting stimulus may vary to some degree from culture to culture (Davey et al. 1998) and from individual to individual, there appear to be some prototypical objects of disgust. Phillips and colleagues (1998) suggest that these are waste products of the human body, while Rozin and Fallon (1987) see the key source of disgust as "the prospect of [oral] incorporation of an offensive object." Rozin and Fallon continue: "The offensive objects are contaminants; that is, if they even briefly contact an acceptable food they tend to render that food unacceptable." According to Rozin, substances of animal origin, poor hygiene, violations of the body envelope, and death are disgust stimuli. Disgust is also elicited by physical contact with unpleasant or unknown people (Rozin and Fallon 1987). Furthermore, disgust appears to have a cultural domain and can be elicited by immorality and violations of social rules (Miller 1997; Rozin et al. 1999b). Our program of qualitative field work exploring the motivation for hygiene behavior generated sets of objects and events that were found to be disgusting from five studies in Africa, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and in an international airport. These are reproduced in Tables 1 through 5, and the data sources are described in the notes. Asking people what disgusts them produced a very diverse set of objects, events, actions...
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The theory of symbolic racism places its origins in a blend of anti-Black affect and conservative values, particularly individualism. We clarify that hypothesis, test it directly, and report several findings consistent with it. Study 1 shows that racial prejudice and general political conservatism fall into 2 separate factors, with symbolic racism loading about equally on both. Study 2 found that the anti-Black affect and individualism significantly explain symbolic racism. The best-fitting model both fuses those 2 elements into a single construct (Black individualism) and includes them separately. The effects of Black individualism on racial policy preferences are mostly mediated by symbolic racism. Study 3 shows that Black individualism is distinctively racial, with effects distinctly different from either an analogous gender individualism or race-neutral individualism.
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A dual-process model of individual differences in prejudice proneness proposes that Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) will influence prejudice against particular outgroups through different motivational mechanisms. RWA should cause negative attitudes toward groups seen as threatening social control, order, cohesion, and stability, such as deviant groups, and negativity toward these groups should be mediated through perceived threat from them. SDO should cause negative attitudes toward groups that activate competitiveness over relative dominance and superiority, such as socially subordinate groups low in power and status, and negativity toward these groups should be mediated through competitiveness toward them. Findings from four student samples that assessed attitudes toward seven social groups selected as likely to vary systematically in social threat and social subordination supported these predictions. The findings have implications for reconciling intergroup and individual difference explanations of prejudice and for interventions to reduce prejudice.
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The uniquely human emotion of disgust is intimately connected to morality in many, perhaps all, cultures (Rozin, Lowery, Imada, & Haidt, 1999b). We report two studies suggesting that a predisposition to feel disgust (“disgust sensitivity”) is associated with more conservative political attitudes, especially for issues related to the moral dimension of purity. In the first study, we document a positive correlation between disgust sensitivity and self-reported conservatism in a broad sample of US adults. In Study 2 we show that while disgust sensitivity is associated with more conservative attitudes on a range of political issues, this relationship is strongest for purity-related issues—specifically, abortion and gay marriage.
Article
Five studies of university students and their parents were carried out to investigate the relationships among right-wing authoritarianism, various indices of religious orientation, and prejudice. Measures of religious fundamentalism, and religious quest, developed for this research, proved to be psychometrically sound, and were good discriminators between prejudiced and unprejudiced persons, across a variety of different measures of prejudice and authoritarian aggression. Scores on both Religious Fundamentalism and Religious Quest scales also were correlated strongly with right-wing authoritarianism and the Christian Orthodoxy scale, although orthodoxy itself tended not to be correlated with prejudice. Apparently, religious fundamentalism and nonquesting are linked with authoritarianism and prejudice toward a wide variety of minority groups. Possible explanations for these relationships are discussed.
Article
This second edition of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was edited by his son Francis Darwin and published in 1890. As Sir Francis notes in his brief preface, because the first edition did not sell out in Charles Darwin’s lifetime, ‘he had no opportunity of publishing the material collected with a view to a second edition.’ This material, in the form of ‘a mass of letters, extracts from and references to books’ was utilised in the second edition, as were Darwin’s pencilled corrections in his own volume of the first. The book is a study of the muscular movements of the face (both human and animal) triggered by the emotions being felt - a ‘physical’ response to a ‘mental’ sensation. Darwin’s detailed analysis of what actually happens to a body in a state of fear, or joy, or anger is illustrated by photographic images.
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This study investigated 3 broad classes of individual-differences variables (job-search motives, competencies, and constraints) as predictors of job-search intensity among 292 unemployed job seekers. Also assessed was the relationship between job-search intensity and reemployment success in a longitudinal context. Results show significant relationships between the predictors employment commitment, financial hardship, job-search self-efficacy, and motivation control and the outcome job-search intensity. Support was not found for a relationship between perceived job-search constraints and job-search intensity. Motivation control was highlighted as the only lagged predictor of job-search intensity over time for those who were continuously unemployed. Job-search intensity predicted Time 2 reemployment status for the sample as a whole, but not reemployment quality for those who found jobs over the study's duration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Despite its relatively good psychometric properties and empirical validity, the 20-item Religious Fundamentalism scale developed by the authors has several problems. It does not measure all of the aspects of fundamentalism, as defined, as well as it might. And it could stand to be shorter. An item development program led to a 12-statement revision that is more internally consistent despite having broader coverage. As well, it is as reliable as the longer original scale, despite being 40% shorter, and at least as empirically valid. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In a study designed to investigate the respective roles of religious fundamentalism and right-wing authoritarianism as predictors of prejudice against racial minorities and homosexuals, participants (47 males, 91 females) responded to a series of questionnaire measures of these constructs. Data were analyzed using multiple regression. Consistent with previous research, authoritarianism was a significant and strong positive predictor of both forms of prejudice. With authoritarianism statistically controlled, however, fundamentalism emerged as a significant negative predictor of racial prejudice but a positive predictor of homosexual prejudice. In a second study, we conducted parallel multiple regressions using the correlations from two previously published studies. The Study 1 results were replicated exactly, except that fundamentalism was a nonsignificant predictor of homosexual prejudice. We interpret the results as evidence that Christian fundamentalism consists of a second major component other than authoritarianism—related to Christian belief content—that is inversely related to some forms of prejudice (including racial prejudice) but not others (e.g., homosexual prejudice).
Article
From evolutionary psychological reasoning, we derived the hypothesis that chronic and contextually aroused feelings of vulnerability to disease motivate negative reactions to foreign peoples. The hypothesis was tested and supported across four correlational studies: chronic disease worries predicted implicit cognitions associating foreign outgroups with danger, and also predicted less positive attitudes toward foreign (but not familiar) immigrant groups. The hypothesis also received support in two experiments in which the salience of contagious disease was manipulated: participants under high disease-salience conditions expressed less positive attitudes toward foreign (but not familiar) immigrants and were more likely to endorse policies that would favor the immigration of familiar rather than foreign peoples. These results reveal a previously under-explored influence on xenophobic attitudes, and suggest interesting linkages between evolved disease-avoidance mechanisms and contemporary social cognition. Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications London Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi.
Article
Let's talk first about parasites. Given the persistent influence that bacteria, viruses, and other parasites have had on human evolution (Van Blerkom, 2003), it's astonishing that so little scientific attention has been devoted to their impact on human psychology and hu-man culture. There are extensive bodies of research documenting the role of parasites on evolved patterns of animal cognition and behavior. Many studies reveal that mammals are sensitive to signs of parasitic infec-tion in potential mates and avoid mating with individu-als who show those signs (e.g., Kavaliers, Colwell, Braun, & Choleris, 2003). These kinds of effects are not restricted to mating contexts either. Bullfrog tad-poles selectively prefer to swim near healthy tadpoles, while avoiding tadpoles that carry parasitic infections (Kiesecker, Skelly, Beard, & Preisser, 1999). Closer to home (phylogenetically speaking), chimpanzees react with unusual violence toward other chimpanzees that show the physical symptoms of debilitating diseases (Goodall, 1986). It is likely that the human mind too is characterized by mechanisms designed to recognize and respond negatively to individuals who show signs of parasite infections—and to do so especially under conditions in which the risk of parasitic infection is es-pecially high (Kurzban & Leary, 2001; Schaller, Park, & Faulkner, 2003). In recent years, empirical studies have docu-mented the presence of just such mechanisms and their consequences on social cognition and behavior. Some of these consequences are straightforward: We stigmatize and avoid sick people, especially when we perceive their sickness to be contagious (Crandall & Moriarty, 1995). Additional consequences are more subtle. We not only stigmatize people who really are sick; we also stigmatize people who may be perfectly healthy but who—on the basis of some superficial feature—appear to pose a risk of parasite transmis-sion. And we do so especially under conditions in which we feel especially vulnerable to parasitic infec-tion. Xenophobic reactions to foreigners are stronger among folks who feel personally vulnerable to germs and disease (Faulkner, Schaller, Park, & Duncan, 2004). Individuals with deviant or nonprototypical morphological features—people who are disfigured or disabled, or who are grossly obese—are similarly stigmatized, and, again, this stigmatization seems to occur especially strongly among people who are per-sonally concerned about their own vulnerability to disease (Park, 2005; Park, Faulkner, & Schaller, 2003). The preference for physically attractive mates might also be understood within this context. Physi-cal unattractiveness is based substantially on per-ceived deviations from a population prototype (Langlois & Roggman, 1990). Consequently, the sub-jective assessment of unattractiveness may serve as a cue indicating the potential presence of a parasitic in-fection at the moment, as well as a cue indicating po-tential susceptibility to parasitic infections in the fu-ture. Within this conceptual context, it is no surprise that people care about the physical attractiveness of someone with whom they are destined to spend a lot of time with and that they care especially within pop-ulations that have historically been more vulnerable to debilitating parasitic infections (Gangestad & Buss, 1993). Now, in the results reported by Gangestad, Haselton, and Buss (this issue), we en-counter even more impressive evidence that para-site-prevalence influences mate-selection preferences, and this influence occurs across an even broader set of preferences.
Article
Drawing on evolutionary psychological logic, we describe a model that links evolved mechanisms of disease-avoidance to contemporary prejudices against individuals with physical disabilities. Because contagious diseases were often accompanied by anomalous physical features, humans plausibly evolved psychological mechanisms that respond heuristically to the perception of these features, triggering specific emotions (disgust, anxiety), cognitions (negative attitudes), and behaviors (avoidance). This disease-avoidance system is over-inclusive: Anomalous features that are not due to disease (e.g., limb amputation due to accident) may also activate it, contributing to prejudicial attitudes and behaviors directed toward people with disabilities. This model implies novel hypotheses about contemporary variables that may amplify or reduce disability-based prejudice. We discuss past research within this context. We also present new evidence linking chronic and temporary concerns about disease to implicit negative attitudes toward and behavioral avoidance of disabled others. Discussion focuses on the conceptual and practical implications of this evolutionary approach.
Article
The present study sought to determine the relation among fearfulness, disgust sensitivity, and religious obsessions in a non-clinical sample. One hundred participants completed two measures of fear (Fear Survey Schedule, Padua Inventory) a measure of disgust sensitivity (Disgust Scale) and a measure of religious obsessions (Penn Inventory of Scrupulosity). Overall, the data were consistent with an additive relation among fearfulness, disgust sensitivity and religious obsessions. Inconsistent with recent notions in the research literature, the relation between disgust sensitivity and religious obsessions remained significant even after controlling for general fearfulness and cleanliness fears. Stepwise multiple regression analyses indicated that interpersonal and contamination fears as well as disgust sensitivity specifically towards sex and death best predicted religious obsessions. It is suggested that an additive model consisting of symptoms of both fear and disgust should be considered in future research and treatment of religious obsessions.
Article
In the present study, core disgust predicted negative attitudes toward homosexuals even after controlling for contamination fear. The effect of core disgust on negative attitudes toward homosexuals was indirect, partially mediated by conservative sexual attitudes and religiosity. The effects of religious principles on negative attitudes toward homosexuals were indirect, via conservative sexual beliefs. These results establish a link between disgust and negative attitudes towards homosexuals that is not fully accounted for by contamination concerns, but rather is partially accounted for by conservative sexual ideology and religiosity.
Article
We describe the development of a reliable measure of individual differences in disgust sensitivity. The 32-item Disgust Scale includes 2 true-false and 2 disgust-rating items for each of 7 domains of disgust elicitors (food, animals, body products, sex, body envelope violations, death, and hygiene) and for a domain of magical thinking (via similarity and contagion) that cuts across the 7 domains of elicitors. Correlations with other scales provide initial evidence of convergent and discriminant validity: the Disgust Scale correlates moderately with Sensation Seeking (r= - 0.46) and with Fear of Death (r= 0.39), correlates weakly with Neuroticism (r = 0.23) and Psychoticism (r= - 0.25), and correlates negligibly with Self-Monitoring and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Extraversion and Lie scales. Females score higher than males on the Disgust Scale. We suggest that the 7 domains of disgust elicitors all have in common that they remind us of our animality and, especially, of our mortality. Thus we see disgust as a defensive emotion that maintains and emphasizes the line between human and animal.
Article
Previous research has documented cross-cultural differences in personality traits, but the origins of those differences remain unknown. The authors investigate the possibility that these cultural differences can be traced, in part, to regional differences in the prevalence in infectious diseases. Three specific hypotheses are deduced, predicting negative relationships between disease prevalence and (a) unrestricted sociosexuality, (b) extraversion, and (c) openness to experience. These hypotheses were tested empirically with methods that employed epidemiological atlases in conjunction with personality data collected from individuals in dozens of countries worldwide. Results were consistent with all three hypotheses: In regions that have historically suffered from high levels of infectious diseases, people report lower mean levels of sociosexuality, extraversion, and openness. Alternative explanations are addressed, and possible underlying mechanisms are discussed.
The behavioral immune system: Its evolution and social psychological implications Evolution and the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and social cognitions
  • M Schaller
  • L A Duncan
Schaller, M., & Duncan, L. A. (2007). The behavioral immune system: Its evolution and social psychological implications. In Forgas, Haselton, & von Hippel (Eds.), Evolution and the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and social cognitions (pp. 293–307). New York: Psychology Press.
Universal facial expressions of emotion. California Mental Health Research Digest
  • P Ekman
Ekman, P. (1970). Universal facial expressions of emotion. California Mental Health Research Digest, 8, 151–158.
The behavioral immune system: Its evolution and social psychological implications
  • Schaller