Article

Elevated Disgust Sensitivity in the First Trimester of Pregnancy: Evidence Supporting the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

By motivating avoidance of contaminants, the experience of disgust guards against disease. Because behavioral prophylaxis entails time, energy, and opportunity costs, Fessler and Navarrete [Evol. Hum. Behav. 24 (2003) 406–417] hypothesized that disgust sensitivity is adjusted as a function of immunocompetence. Changes in immune functioning over the course of pregnancy offer an opportunity to test this notion. Relative to later stages, the first trimester of pregnancy involves substantial suppression of the maternal immune response, and both maternal and fetal vulnerability to pathogens are greatest during this phase; food-borne illnesses, in particular, pose a threat during the first trimester. Using a Web-based survey of 496 pregnant women, we compared participants in the first trimester with those in later stages of pregnancy. Results reveal heightened disgust sensitivity in the first trimester, notably including disgust sensitivity in the food domain. This pattern is not simply a consequence of elevated nausea during the first trimester, as, although disgust sensitivity and current level of nausea are correlated, first trimester women remain more easily disgusted in the food domain even after controlling for the greater incidence of nausea. These results provide preliminary support for the hypothesis that disgust sensitivity varies during pregnancy in a manner that compensates for maternal and fetal vulnerability to disease.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... We further propose that nostalgia forms a favored coping response to the primary affective response that a disease threat triggers: disgust. Disgust typically motivates a person to seek comforting and protective cues as a resource to cope with the threat (Fessler et al., 2005;Neuberg et al., 2011). A key source of such comfort is the warm and soothing embrace of the past when life was well-structured, cozy, familiar, and safe. ...
... For example, salient disease threat leads to increased preference for symmetrical faces, which are historically related to better physical health (Young et al., 2011). Also, when a threat of disease is salient, individuals tend to avoid outgroups since outgroup members are more likely to transfer pathogens to which in-group members do not have immunity yet (Fessler et al., 2005) and they may be perceived as a possible source of contamination (Terrizzi et al., 2013). Besides the interpersonal context, a recent study by Park et al. (2022) in the context of COVID-19 demonstrated that a heightened disease threat motivates people to lower their uncertainty and leads to increased preferences for products with authenticity appeals. ...
... In general, the experience of disgust can be explained as a psychological signal which indicates some immediate threats of infection or contagion, and therefore, disgust might act as a visceral cue that yields motivation for subsequent attitudes and protective behaviors (Fessler et al., 2005). Indeed, experienced disgust motivates the organism to muster the caloric, cognitive, and emotional resources that promote protective behavior (Murray & Schaller, 2012;Neuberg et al., 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research views nostalgia as a valuable resource that can be accessed in times of distress and discomfort. The present work complements this literature by examining novel and previously uncovered triggers and downstream consequences of nostalgia in the consumer domain: disease‐threat and protective behavior. The current paper argues that nostalgia functions as such a psychological resource with buffering qualities and is used as a coping mechanism to maintain comfort when experiencing disease threat—the perception of a potential threat posed by an infectious disease. Using an archival data set and five experiments, the authors demonstrate that when facing a disease threat, but not an actual occurrence of disease, consumers experience a higher need for nostalgia and show an increased preference for nostalgic products. That is, internet searches for nostalgic products rise during flu season as well as COVID‐19 pandemic (Study 1), disease threat induces increased levels of experienced nostalgia (Study 2), which translate into increased preferences for nostalgic products (Study 3 and Study 5), mediated by disgust (Study 4). Finally, the authors show the resource value of product‐induced nostalgia, demonstrating the ironic effect that it can compensate for disease‐protective behavior (Study 6). The results provide important practical implications for marketers and policy‐makers who could focus on promoting nostalgic products or incorporating nostalgic cues in product design and communication that would generate positive consumer evaluations when the threat of illness or disease is salient.
... Suppressed physiological immune responses during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (when raised progesterone prepares the body for pregnancy) reduce the probability that the immune system will compromise the development of the blastocyst (reviewed in Fleischman & Fessler, 2011). The Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis proposes that this progesterone-linked immunosuppression is associated with increased disgust toward pathogen cues, compensating for the reduction in physiological immune responses by reducing the probability of contact with pathogens (Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman & Fessler, 2011;Żelaźniewicz et al., 2016). Fleischman and Fessler (2011) and Żelaźniewicz et al. (2016) have presented the strongest evidence for (and most direct tests of) the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis to date. ...
... In both studies, women with higher progesterone levels reported stronger disgust toward pathogen cues. Another study reporting stronger disgust responses to pathogen cues during the first (i.e., highest-progesterone) trimester of pregnancy has also been interpreted as supporting the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (Fessler et al., 2005). However, these three studies employed between-subject designs, which have been shown to be weak tests for hypotheses concerning hormone-linked changes in behavior (Gangestad et al., 2016) and allow only indirect tests of the hypothesis that within-woman changes in pathogen disgust and progesterone are correlated. ...
... We assessed disgust sensitivity using Tybur et al's (2009) Three Domain Disgust Scale, which assesses disgust sensitivity in three different domains: pathogen disgust, sexual disgust, and moral disgust. The Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis predicts that pathogen disgust will track changes in women's progesterone levels (Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman & Fessler, 2011;Żelaźniewicz et al., 2016). Indeed, the studies testing the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis have each assessed similar (or identical) self-report measures of disgust sensitivity (Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman & Fessler, 2011;Żelaźniewicz et al., 2016). ...
Preprint
Raised progesterone during the menstrual cycle is associated with suppressed physiological immune responses, reducing the probability that the immune system will compromise the blastocyst’s development. The Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis proposes that this progesterone-linked immunosuppression triggers increased disgust responses to pathogen cues, compensating for the reduction in physiological immune responses by minimizing contact with pathogens. Although a popular and influential hypothesis, there is no direct, within-woman evidence for correlated changes in progesterone and pathogen disgust. To address this issue, we used a longitudinal design to test for correlated changes in salivary progesterone and pathogen disgust (measured using the pathogen disgust subscale of the Three Domain Disgust Scale) in a large sample of women (N=375). Our analyses showed no evidence that pathogen disgust tracked changes in progesterone, estradiol, testosterone, or cortisol. Thus, our results provide no support for the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis of variation in pathogen disgust.
... Moreover, disgust may function not only as a mere complement to the physiological immune system. According to the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH) proposed by Fessler, Eng, and Navarrete (2005), disgust can also compensate for the decline in physiological immunity, adjusting as a function of immunocompetence. Fessler et al. (2005) tested the adaptive function of disgust in pregnancy and found an increased disgust sensitivity in the first trimester compared to the later stages of pregnancy. ...
... According to the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH) proposed by Fessler, Eng, and Navarrete (2005), disgust can also compensate for the decline in physiological immunity, adjusting as a function of immunocompetence. Fessler et al. (2005) tested the adaptive function of disgust in pregnancy and found an increased disgust sensitivity in the first trimester compared to the later stages of pregnancy. As the then understanding was that early pregnancy is a state of substantial immune suppression to tolerate the semi-allogenic fetus, the authors (Fessler et al., 2005) interpreted those results in favor of the CPH, presuming that disgust compensates for the expected decrease in immune response in early pregnancy. ...
... Fessler et al. (2005) tested the adaptive function of disgust in pregnancy and found an increased disgust sensitivity in the first trimester compared to the later stages of pregnancy. As the then understanding was that early pregnancy is a state of substantial immune suppression to tolerate the semi-allogenic fetus, the authors (Fessler et al., 2005) interpreted those results in favor of the CPH, presuming that disgust compensates for the expected decrease in immune response in early pregnancy. Nevertheless, recent evidence suggests that the view of early pregnancy as a state of reduced immunocompetence is outdated: the immune system has been shown to be highly functional and active in the initial phase of pregnancy, producing a strong immune response when facing a risk of infection (Racicot, Kwon, Aldo, Silasi, & Mor, 2014). ...
Article
According to the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH), disgust may be considered a part of the behavioral immune system, adjusting as a function of immunocompetence. Early pregnancy involves modulation of a complex network of various immune-related factors, but only a few studies so far have focused on disgust sensitivity in pregnant women in the context of the CPH. This study aimed to examine associations between disgust sensitivity and immune activity indices, cytokine levels, and white blood cell (WBC) count in pregnant women. The sample included 78 women in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Higher disgust sensitivity (Disgust Scale-Revised; DS-R) was significantly associated with decreased levels of IL-1β, IL-2 IL-4, IL-7, IL-17, Eotaxin, MCP-1 (MCAF), and RANTES in blood serum. This model explained 17.5% of the total DS-R score variability. Using the DS-R subscales, the Contamination disgust was significantly associated with levels of FGF basic, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-17A, G-CSF, MCP-1 (MCAF), MIP-1α, PDGF-BB, and RANTES, and the Core disgust was significantly associated with levels of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-17A, Eotaxin, G-CSF, IP-10, MCP-1 (MCAF), PDGF-BB, and TNF-α. Disgust sensitivity was not associated with WBC count. Disgust may reflect and compensate for insufficient immune adaptation in early pregnancy, suggesting the potential clinical significance of this common prenatal symptom.
... In addition to working alongside the activities of the immune system in a complementary manner (with both systems increasing alongside each other in response to pathogen cues), research suggests that disgust sensitivity may also complement the activities of the immune system, with decreased activation of one system being counterbalanced by increased activation of the other. For example, disgust increases during the first trimester of pregnancy, when the activities of the immune system are suppressed to allow for implantation of the embryo (Fessler et al., 2005). Others find that those higher in pathogen-avoidance motivation have lower levels of basal inflammatory activity (Cepon-Robins et al., 2021), as well as lower levels of oxidative stress (Gassen et al., 2018). ...
... These results provide some of the first evidence establishing a causal relationship between the activities of the immune system and disgust sensitivity, suggesting that the two may work together in a compensatory fashion (see also compensatory prophylaxis hypothesis; Fessler et al., 2005;Oaten et al., 2017). Specifically, these results found that when individuals were given an NSAID (compared to placebo), which reduces cellular-inflammatory signalling (Liu et al., 2017;Yin et al., 1998), they exhibited an increase in disgust sensitivity. ...
... In Study 4, we found that the administration of aspirin (vs. placebo) increased participants' sensitivity to pathogenic stimuli, representing some of the first evidence that experimentally inhibiting inflammatory activity-or any facet of immune function-leads to a compensatory increase in psychological pathogen-avoidance processes (Fessler et al., 2005;Oaten et al., 2017). ...
Article
Disgust is reasoned to operate in conjunction with the immune system to help protect the body from illness. However, less is known about the factors that impact the degree to which individuals invest in pathogen avoidance (disgust) versus pathogen management (prophylactic immunological activity). Here, we examine the role that one’s control over pathogen contact plays in resolving such investment trade-offs, predicting that (a) those from low control environments will invest less in pathogen-avoidance strategies and (b) investment in each of these two strategies will occur in a compensatory fashion (i.e. they will be traded off with one other). Across four studies, we found support for these predictions, using a variety of manipulations and measures. By providing novel insights into how one’s control over pathogen exposure influences disgust sensitivity and immune system activity, the current research poses an important contribution to the literature on disgust, pathogen avoidance, and the immune system.
... Evidence from humans has raised the possibility that progesterone is involved in the mediation of pathogen disgust and the expression of avoidance behaviors. According to the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH) progesterone-linked immunosuppression is associated with increased disgust towards pathogen cues, possibly compensating for the reduction in immune responses elicited by progesterone by decreasing the probability of contact with pathogens (Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman and Fessler, 2011;Zelazniewicz et al., 2016). Disgust related responses have T been reported to vary across the menstrual cycle being at their greatest at the midluteal phase when progesterone is elevated (Fessler and Navarete, 2003;Milkowska et al., 2018;Olatunji et al., 2020;Pilarcczyk et al., 2019;Sparks et al., 2018;Zelazniewicz et al., 2016). ...
... There is mixed evidence from humans suggesting that progesterone is associated with the expression of pathogen disgust and the detection and avoidance of infection threat (Fessler et al., 2005;Fessler, 2011, 2018;Jones et al., 2018). Our results show that acute progesterone has limited effects on parasite avoidance and the expression of odor based pathogen disgust in mice. ...
... Although the slight effects of progesterone may be associated with an increased discrimination of infection threat our results do not support the suggestion that progesterone enhances the expression of pathogen disgust. As such our findings provide minimal support for the CPH and the proposal that progesterone is associated with the expression of disgust and avoidance of pathogen threat (Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman and Fessler, 2011). However, the possible roles of progesterone in the modulation of odor based pathogen disgust in humans remain to be examined. ...
Article
Although pathogen threat affects social and sexual responses across species, relatively little is known about the underlying neuroendocrine mechanisms. Progesterone has been speculated to be involved in the mediation of pathogen disgust in women, though with mixed experimental support. Here we considered the effects of acute progesterone on the disgust-like avoidance responses of female mice to pathogen threat. Estrous female mice discriminated and avoided the urinary and associated odors of males subclinically infected with the murine nematode parasite, Heligiomides polygyrus. These avoidance responses were not significantly affected by pre-treatment with progesterone. Likewise, brief (1 min) exposure to the odors of infected males attenuated the subsequent responses of females to the odors of the normally preferred unfamiliar males and enhanced their preferences for familiar males. Neither progesterone nor allopregnalone, a central neurosteroid metabolite of progesterone, had any significant effects on the avoidance of unfamiliar males elicited by pre-exposure to a parasitized male. Progesterone and allopregnalone, did, however, significantly attenuate the typical preferences of estrous females for unfamiliar uninfected males, suggestive of effects on social recognition. These findings with mice indicate that progesterone may have minimal effects on the responses to specific parasite threat and the expression of pathogen disgust but may influence more general social recognition and preferences.
... While a large body of work has demonstrated the far-reaching effects of the behavioural immune system on psychology and behaviour, research into how behavioural pathogen defence mechanisms intersect with the activities of the immune system is still in its nascent stage (Ackerman et al. 2018;Gassen et al. 2018;Gassen and Hill 2019;Murray et al. 2019). A leading hypothesis from the evolutionary psychology literature proposes that the biological and behavioural immune systems may operate in a compensatory manner (see compensatory prophylaxis hypothesis; Fessler et al. 2005;Fleischman and Fessler 2011), and some recent research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology has provided initial support for this possibility (e.g., Bradshaw et al. n.d.;Gassen et al. 2018). On the other hand, separate research suggests that-in some situations-disgust and biological immune activation may co-occur (e.g., Rubio-Godoy et al. 2007;Stevenson et al. 2011b). ...
... The compensatory prophylaxis hypothesis postulates that behavioural disease avoidance mechanisms have evolved to complement the activities of the biological immune system in protecting an individual from infection. However, because prophylactic disease avoidance behaviours bear energetic and social costs (as briefly outlined in the previous section), the extent to which individuals engage in these behaviours should not be constant, but should rather increase when the biological immune system is impaired and one is particularly vulnerable to the threat of infectious disease (Fessler et al. 2005;Fleischman and Fessler 2011). Support for this hypothesis includes research demonstrating that pregnant women reported elevated disgust sensitivity during the first trimester (compared to the second and third trimesters), a period when the maternal immune system is believed to be suppressed to prevent the maternal immune system from attacking the foetus (Fessler et al. 2005). ...
... However, because prophylactic disease avoidance behaviours bear energetic and social costs (as briefly outlined in the previous section), the extent to which individuals engage in these behaviours should not be constant, but should rather increase when the biological immune system is impaired and one is particularly vulnerable to the threat of infectious disease (Fessler et al. 2005;Fleischman and Fessler 2011). Support for this hypothesis includes research demonstrating that pregnant women reported elevated disgust sensitivity during the first trimester (compared to the second and third trimesters), a period when the maternal immune system is believed to be suppressed to prevent the maternal immune system from attacking the foetus (Fessler et al. 2005). Additional support for the compensatory prophylaxis hypothesis comes from research finding that, in naturally-cycling women, higher levels of salivary progesterone-a hormone that suppresses certain types of immune responses-were associated with greater disgust sensitivity, contamination-related rumination, and self-grooming behaviours (Fleischman and Fessler 2011; but see Jones et al. 2018). ...
... • adaptive social processes for bonding based on homophily or similarity [26] within Social Science (in Section 3) • plasticity and metaplasticity for emotion (dys)regulation [27][28][29][30] within Neuroscience and Psychology and complex adaptive disorders [30] in Medicine (in Section 4) • different levels of evolutionary adaptation [31] in Biology and Medicine (in Section 5) The adaptive network-oriented modeling approach has a solid basis in formal sciences. Being network-oriented, the approach belongs to the relatively new formal discipline called Network Science; e.g., [14]. ...
... In this way this leads to a shift in the average pathways within the population. In [31,47] it is suggested that the following evolutionary levels of adaptation can be distinguished for pathogens, defense (immune) systems, and disgust during the first trimester of pregnancy: ...
... '… one form of disgust, pathogen disgust, functions in part as a third-order adaptation, as diseaseavoidance responses are up-regulated in a manner that compensates for the increases in vulnerability to pathogens that accompany pregnancy and preparation for implantationchanges that are themselves a second-order adaptation addressing the conflict between maternal immune defenses and the parasitic behavior of the half-foreign conceptus ...' [47] Fessler et al., [31,47] sketch three adaptation levels, which actually occur on top of the ecological adaptation level of the development of pathogens that affect health; this makes a total of four adaptation levels that can be distinguished. At each level new causal pathways were added that modulate the causal pathway of the previous level by modifying it, if certain circumstances occur: ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Supporting videos, for example, Using Self-Modeling Networks to Model Adaptive Causality, can be viewed at the YouTube channel on Self-Modeling Networks: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCO3i4_Fwi22cEqL8M_PgeA. In this paper, it has been illustrated how a network-oriented modeling approach based on temporal-causal networks can be used to model adaptive processes in different domains and thus serve as a unifying factor for multiple sciences. The approach makes use of mathematical relations and functions as declarative building blocks to be used in a standard temporal-causal network format. A dedicated software environment is available which includes a combination function library for aggregation of multiple impacts within a temporal-causal network, with more than 35 already predefined basic combination functions. This software environment makes design and simulation for such network models relatively easy. The approach is illustrated by three examples of adaptive network models: a first-order adaptive network model for bonding by homophily, a second-order adaptive network model for plasticity and metaplasticity for emotion regulation dysfunction in disorders, and a fourth-order adaptive network model for evolutionary processes related to pathogens and pregnancy.
... The observation about deleterious recessives has led to new findings about the psychological mechanisms that govern incest avoidance (Lieberman et al., 2007). The observation about parasites and pathogens has spawned dozens of studies yielding a host of interesting new findings about the link between disgust and food neophobia, mating, pregnancy, and immune function, among others (e.g., Curtis et al., 2011;Al-Shawaf et al., 2015c;Al-Shawaf et al., 2018;Fessler et al., 2005). The fact about predatory cats, snakes, and spiders has led to numerous hypotheses and findings about our fear mechanisms, including discoveries of biased learning mechanisms geared toward predator avoidance in children (Barrett and Broesh, 2012;Barrett, 2015). ...
... For example, the human disgust system produces effects that are remarkably wellsuited to solving the adaptive problem of avoiding infection: it is preferentially triggered by more pathogenic items compared to less pathogenic ones (Curtis et al., 2004), releases pro-inflammatory cytokines (Schaller et al., 2010), produces avoidant motor behaviors (Mortensen et al., 2010), leads to decreases in state extraversion and openness to experience (Mortensen et al., 2010), reduces desire for casual sex (Al-Shawaf et al., 2018a), is downregulated in short-term maters (Al-Shawaf et al., 2015b), responds to the odor of sickness in conspecifics (Olsson et al., 2014), might be upregulated during periods of immunosuppression (Fessler et al., 2005), appears to respond more strongly to groups that are likely to carry unfamiliar pathogens (Faulkner et al., 2004;Makhanova et al., 2015; but see van Leeuwen and Petersen, 2018), and is downregulated when caring for one's kin (Case et al., 2006). This pattern conforms to an engineering analysis of what you might expect from a system specifically designed to reduce the likelihood of infection. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter describes the three products of evolution – adaptations, byproducts, and noise – along with subcategories of these umbrella terms. We discuss key features and misconceptions about each, as well as evidentiary criteria for distinguishing between them. Our discussion includes examples from biology and psychology and from both human and nonhuman animals.
... An explanation involving disgust is well placed to accommodate this distribution. Pregnant women become more disgust sensitive in their first trimester, perhaps in order to compensate for the immune suppression that is required to successfully carry a baby -so-called compensatory behavioral prophylaxis (Fessler et al., 2005). 10 As such, pregnant women in their first trimester will be more likely to be disgusted by the relevant sights and alief that they, and their fetuses in turn, have been contaminated. ...
... behavioral prophylaxis) due to increases in progesterone during that same period, as progesterone has been shown to be involved in dampening the inflammatory immune system, which is thought to function to prevent rejection of the paternal genetic information (e.g. Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman & Fessler, 2011). However, recently Jones et al. (2018a) did not find that disgust sensitivity (as measured by Tybur et al.'s (2009) Three Domain Disgust Scale) tracks changing levels of progesterone over the course of the menstrual cycles of a large sample of women. ...
Article
In this article, an account of the architecture of the cognitive contamination system is offered, according to which the contamination system can generate contamination representations in circumstances that do not satisfy the norms of contamination, including in cases of mere visual contact with disgusting objects. It is argued that this architecture is important for explaining the content, logic, distribution, and persistence of maternal impression beliefs – according to which fetal defects are caused by the pregnant mother’s experiences and actions – which in turn provide important evidence of the architecture of the cognitive contamination system.
... Throughout the course of evolution, humans developed a behavioral immune system that consists of detecting stimuli that are potential contaminants, experiencing a disgust response that signals the need to avoid such stimuli, and in turn avoiding the stimuli (e.g., detecting, feeling repulsed by, and throwing away rotten food; Schaller & Park, 2011). When individuals feel that contamination is unlikely and risks are minimal, they experience weaker disgust responses to potentially infectious cues (because there is less need to avoid the contaminant; Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005). For instance, people feel less repulsed by rotten food when their immune system is relatively strong (Schaller, Park, & Kenrick, 2007) and people experience less disgust when they reappraise sexual acts as not contagious and thus not dangerous to them Mooijman & Stern, 2016). ...
... This, in turn, may help the immune system overcome infectious challenges (Ader, 2001;Dienstbier, 1989;Sapolsky, 2005). Since people feel less disgusted by infectious cues when their immune system is relatively strong (Fessler et al., 2005;Schaller & Park, 2011), this suggests that having power can reduce how disgusted people feel. Indeed, merely making people feel powerful in laboratory settings can already elicit adaptive patterns of cardiovascular reactivity (i.e., bodily challenge instead of threat; Blascovich & Mendes, 2010;Scheepers et al., 2012); which has been linked to the immune system's ability to fight infection (Sapolsky, Alberts, & Altmann, 1997;Segerstrom & Miller, 2004;Sgoutas-Emch et al., 1994). ...
Article
Across seven studies (five preregistered), we show that power reduces the degree to which people morally condemn transgressions that elicit disgust. This effect is explained by power reducing the subjective experience of disgust instead of the categorization of behaviors as disgusting. Power does not reliably reduce other negative emotions besides disgust and the impact of power on disgust and moral judgment is attenuated when participants are instructed to appraise impure behaviors as dangerous. These findings challenge the idea that power always increases the severity of moral judgments, shed light on the specific mechanisms by which power colors our judgments of moral right and wrong, and expand theorizing on the impact of power on emotions and moral judgment.
... Previous research showed that health and immunity level may explain the inter-and intraindividual differences in disgust sensitivity. For instance, women in the first trimester of pregnancy, when maternal immunity is suppressed, exhibit elevated disgust sensitivity [4]. Furthermore, longitudinal studies showed that changes in pathogen disgust sensitivity in menstrual cycle The aim of this study was to test if pharyngeal colonization with Staphylococcus aureus is related to an individual's disgust sensitivity. ...
... Furthermore, disgust sensitivity was only evaluated based on self-report questionnaire, which may not accurately reflect the real avoidance behavior. More distinct effects and stronger responses might be observed if individuals were confronted with more ecologically valid disgust elicitors, e.g., photos, movies, objects [4], or were interviewed on their real-life behaviors. Furthermore, apart from cortisol and testosterone, also other hormones, that were not controlled in this study (e.g., progesterone), may also impact an individual's disgust sensitivity [5,6]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Disgust triggers behavioral avoidance of pathogen-carrying and fitness-reducing agents. However, because of the cost involved, disgust sensitivity should be flexible, varying as a function of an individual’s immunity. Asymptomatic colonization with Staphylococcus aureus often results from weakened immunity and is a potential source of subsequent infections. In this study, we tested if pharyngeal colonization with S. aureus, evaluated based on a single swab collection, is related to an individual’s disgust sensitivity, measured with the Three Domain Disgust Scale. Levels of immunomodulating hormones (cortisol and testosterone), general health, and body adiposity were controlled. Women (N = 95), compared to men (N = 137), displayed higher sexual disgust sensitivity, but the difference between individuals with S. aureus and without S. aureus was significant only in men, providing support for prophylactic hypothesis, explaining inter-individual differences in disgust sensitivity. Men (but not women) burdened with asymptomatic S. aureus presence in pharynx exhibit higher pathogen disgust (p = 0.04) compared to individuals in which S. aureus was not detected. The positive relationship between the presence of the pathogen and sexual disgust was close to the statistical significance level (p = 0.06), and S. aureus colonization was not related with moral disgust domain.
... Since then, many studies have supported the hypothesis that disgust is a universal human emotional response that evolved to motivate avoidance of certain kinds of fitnessreducing substances, activities, or individuals, particularly those associated with infection (2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9). What constitutes "fitness-reducing," however, varies depending on individual and environmental circumstances (8)(9)(10)(11)(12). To function adaptively, how sensitive someone is to pathogen-related cues (i.e., pathogen disgust sensitivity [PDS]) should be context-specific, calibrated to the local costs and benefits associated with infection risk and avoidance behaviors, and influenced by endemic parasites, lifestyle, nutritional status, phenotypic qualities, and life-history parameters (8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13). ...
... What constitutes "fitness-reducing," however, varies depending on individual and environmental circumstances (8)(9)(10)(11)(12). To function adaptively, how sensitive someone is to pathogen-related cues (i.e., pathogen disgust sensitivity [PDS]) should be context-specific, calibrated to the local costs and benefits associated with infection risk and avoidance behaviors, and influenced by endemic parasites, lifestyle, nutritional status, phenotypic qualities, and life-history parameters (8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13). Additionally, PDS to certain pathogen-related stimuli-and the resultant disease-avoidance behaviors-show cross-cultural variation. ...
Article
Disgust is hypothesized to be an evolved emotion that functions to regulate the avoidance of pathogen-related stimuli and behaviors. Individuals with higher pathogen disgust sensitivity (PDS) are predicted to be exposed to and thus infected by fewer pathogens, though no studies have tested this directly. Furthermore, PDS is hypothesized to be locally calibrated to the types of pathogens normally encountered and the fitness-related costs and benefits of infection and avoidance. Market integration (the degree of production for and consumption from market-based economies) influences the relative costs/benefits of pathogen exposure and avoidance through sanitation, hygiene, and lifestyle changes, and is thus predicted to affect PDS. Here, we examine the function of PDS in disease avoidance, its environmental calibration, and its socioecological variation by examining associations among PDS, market-related lifestyle factors, and measures of bacterial, viral, and macroparasitic infection at the individual, household, and community levels. Data were collected among 75 participants (ages 5 to 59 y) from 28 households in three Ecuadorian Shuar communities characterized by subsistence-based lifestyles and high pathogen burden, but experiencing rapid market integration. As predicted, we found strong negative associations between PDS and biomarkers of immune response to viral/bacterial infection, and weaker associations between PDS and measures of macroparasite infection, apparently mediated by market integration-related differences. We provide support for the previously untested hypothesis that PDS is negatively associated with infection, and document variation in PDS indicative of calibration to local socioeconomic conditions. More broadly, findings highlight the importance of evolved psychological mechanisms in human health outcomes.
... The Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH) states that female disgust sensitivity is adjusted as a function of the current level of immunocompetence to avoid contact to pathogens and thus, potential infections (e.g. Fessler et al., 2005). More precisely, as immunosuppression is upregulated in the luteal phase of the ovulatory cycle, elevated by rising levels of progesterone, it is assumed that female disgust sensitivity should increase accordingly (Fessler & Navarette, 2003). ...
... For example, the original authors of the Hypothesis reported that sexual disgust is related to women's conception risk (Fessler & Navarette, 2003), although not finding support for the CPH in terms of an association between conception risk and disgust sensitivity. Further, levels of disgust were reported to be highest in the first trimester of pregnancy, when immunosuppression and vulnerability to diseases are highest (Fessler et al., 2005). Probably the most compelling evidence for the CPH so far was reported in a study by Fleischman and Fessler (2011) that involved direct assessments of progesterone. ...
Article
Full-text available
Multiple studies have argued that disgust, especially pathogen disgust and contamination sensitivity, change across women's ovulatory cycle, with higher levels in the luteal phase due to an increase in progesterone levels. According to the Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH), women have a higher disgust sensitivity to pathogen cues when in the luteal phase (or when progesterone levels are higher), because progesterone is associated with suppressed immune responses. Evidence for this hypothesis is rather mixed and uncertain, as the largest study conducted so far reported no compelling evidence for an association between progesterone levels and pathogen disgust. Further, ovulatory cycle research has been criticized for methodological shortcomings, such as invalid cycle phase estimates, no direct hormone assessments, small sample sizes or between-subjects studies. To address these issues and to contribute to the literature, we employed a large, within-subjects design (N = 257 with four sessions each), assessments of salivary hormone levels and cycle phase estimates based on luteinizing hormone tests. A variety of multilevel models suggest no compelling evidence that self-reported pathogen disgust or contamination sensitivity is upregulated in the luteal phase or tracks changes in women's hormone levels. We further found no compelling evidence for between-subjects associations of pathogen disgust or contamination sensitivity and hormone levels. Results remain robust across different analytical decisions (e.g. in a subsample of women reporting feeling sick). We discuss explanations for our results, limitations of the current study and provide directions for future research.
... Protection from illness has been considered as one of the evolving roles of disgust [2,3]. Disgust has been found to increase during the first trimester of pregnancy [19] and certain aspects of disgust have been linked to mate preference [20,21]. These findings suggest that disgust is associated to various aspects of reproduction and disease avoidance. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Disgust evolved as a way to protect one’s self from illness. DS-R measures disgust propensity of three kinds of disgust (Core, Animal Reminder and Contamination). Although the DS-R scale was refined mainly with young and largely female student population its impact on educational orientation has not been assessed. In the present study we examined the DS-R scoring and the choice of postgraduate studies in medical (n= 94) and psychology (n= 97) students. They responded to an anonymous web-based survey and completed the DS-R and a questionnaire on their demographics and plans for postgraduate studies. Female students outnumbered males (3:1) and scored higher in Total DS-R score (median: 59 vs. 50, p<0.05). Psychology students scored higher in all three kinds of disgust (p<0.05), indicating a higher level of disease avoidance. Medical students willing to follow Internal Medicine scored higher in Core Disgust (p<0.05) while psychology students willing to study Experimental Psychology scored lower in Animal Reminder subscale (p<0.001). Also, the higher the psychology students scored in Core Disgust scale the higher was the probability to choose Experimental Psychology. In conclusion, disgust propensity as rated by DS-R differentiates medical from psychology students and is also related to orientation preferences in postgraduate studies.
... Therefore, individuals must trade off the cost and probability of becoming infected with the cost and probability of foregoing cooperation and exchanges (Aarøe, Osmundsen and Petersen, 2016;Tybur and Lieberman 2016). These costs and probabilities vary across individuals and contexts (see Al-Shawaf and Lewis 2013;Fessler and Navarrete 2003;Fessler, Eng, and Navarrete 2005). Accordingly, the behavioral immune system is "functionally flexible," calibrating its response to the threat posed by the environment (Curtis, de Barra, and Aunger 2011) and the individual's ability to cope with it (Schaller and Duncan 2007). ...
Article
While there is growing interest in the relationship between pathogen‐avoidance motivations and partisanship, the extant findings remain contradictory and suffer from a number of methodological limitations related to measurement and internal and external validity. We address these limitations and marshal the most complete test to date of the relationship between the behavioral immune system and partisanship, as indexed by which party people identify with and vote for. Using a unique research design, including multiple well‐powered, nationally representative samples from the United States and Denmark collected in election and nonelection contexts, our study is the first to establish in cross‐national data a consistent, substantial, and replicable connection between deep‐seated pathogen‐avoidance motivations and socially conservative party preferences across multiple validated measures of individual differences in disgust sensitivity and using large representative samples. We explore the relative contribution of the pathogen‐avoidance model and sexual strategies for accounting for this relationship.
... Primarily correlational relations between disgust and progesterone have been reported from studies with women across the menstrual cycle (e.g. Conway et al., 2007;Fessler and Navarete, 2003;Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman and Fessler, 2011;Milkowska et al., 2018;Navarette and Fessler, 2006;Zelazniewicz et al., 2016;Olatunji et al., 2020; for negative evidence see Jones et al., 2018). Recently we investigated the possible effects of exogenous progesterone on the expression of pathogen disgust in female mice (Kavaliers et al., 2021). ...
... Protection from illness has been considered as one of the evolving roles of disgust [2,3]. Disgust has been found to increase during the first trimester of pregnancy [19] and certain aspects of disgust have been linked to mate preference [20,21]. These findings suggest that disgust is associated with various aspects of reproduction and disease avoidance. ...
Article
Full-text available
The emotion of disgust evolved as a way to protect oneself from illness and is associated with aspects of disease avoidance. Disgust Scale–Revised (DS-R) (Olatunji et al., 2008) measures the disgust propensity of three kinds of disgust (core, animal reminder, contamination). Contextual factors, such as academic background, might influence DS-R scoring, especially among medical students, where the notion of disease is central. We examined DS-R scoring and the choice of postgraduate studies in medical (n = 94) and psychology (n = 97) students. In an anonymous web-based survey, participants completed the DS-R and a questionnaire including plans for postgraduate studies. Females outnumbered males and scored higher in total DS-R score (p = 0.003). Psychology students scored higher in all three kinds of disgust (p < 0.001 for core disgust and animal reminder, p = 0.069 for contamination disgust), indicating a higher level of disease avoidance. Medical students willing to follow Internal Medicine scored higher in core disgust (p < 0.05), while psychology students willing to study Experimental Psychology scored lower in the animal reminder subscale (p = 0.019 and p < 0.001 for the association between these subscales and the orientation of Medical and Psychology Students, respectively). In conclusion, disgust propensity as rated by DS-R is related to academic background and orientation preferences in postgraduate studies.
... Second, the degree to which reporting having a head cold in the last 2 weeks reflects ability to resist pathogens is unclear. This latter shortcoming is perhaps shared by other studies that have seemingly demonstrated a relation between immunological resistance and pathogen avoidance, in which cocaine dependence (Ersche et al., 2014), progesterone (Fleischman & Fessler, 2011), rheumatoid arthritis (Oaten et al., 2017), trimester of pregnancy (Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005), and the same illness-recency measure used here (Miller & Maner, 2011, Study 2) have been interpreted as markers of a limited ability to resist pathogens. The use of such approaches has likely stemmed from the invasiveness and expense of measuring immune markers. ...
Article
Full-text available
The tendency to attend to and avoid cues to pathogens varies across individuals and contexts. Researchers have proposed that this variation is partially driven by immunological vulnerability to infection, though support for this hypothesis is equivocal. One key piece of evidence (Miller & Maner, 2011) shows that participants who have recently been ill—and hence may have a reduced ability to combat subsequent infection—allocate more attention to faces with infectious-disease cues than do participants who have not recently been ill. The current article describes a direct replication of this study using a sample of 402 individuals from the University of Michigan, the University of Glasgow, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam—more than 4 times the sample size of the original study. No effect of illness recency on attentional bias for disfigured faces emerged. Though it did not support the original finding, this replication provides suggestions for future research on the psychological underpinnings of pathogen avoidance.
... Zároveň je plod velice náchylný k působení teratogenů, proto se předpokládá, že by BIS mohl být jedním z hlavních obranných mechanismů. 33 Některé osobnostní rysy vykazují spojitost s fungováním BIS. Společenštější jedinci (extravertnější) jsou více ohroženi potenciálním onemocněním kvůli kontaktu s větším množstvím lidí. ...
Article
Full-text available
Behaviorální imunitní systém představuje vedle tělesného imunitního systému další obranný nástroj organismu. Jeho hlavní funkcí je detekce a vyhnutí se potenciálně ohrožujícím podnětům, jež mohou vést k přenosu patogenů. Včasná vyhýbavá reakce organismu významně snižuje energii, jež by jinak byla vydána na metabolicky náročné reakce tělesného imunitního systému po infekci patogenem. Cílem tohoto souborného článku je představit jednotlivé složky behaviorálního imunitního systému, jenž v první řadě zahrnuje percepci ohrožujících podnětů na základě jednotlivých smyslových modalit (vizuální, akustická, čichová, taktilní a jejich integrace). Dále se jedná o afektivní složku, a to zejména emoci znechucení, kterou zde dále dělíme na patogenní, sexuální a morální. Další části zahrnují kognitivní složku, která umožňuje uvědomovat si a hodnotit míru nebezpečnosti podnětu, a exekutivní složku včetně vyhýbavého chování. Součástí práce je také krátké představení základních metod měření behaviorálního imunitního systému pomocí dotazníků, vizuálních stimulů či měření fyziologických reakcí. Fungování behaviorálního imunitního systému je možné vysvětlit pomocí "teorie zvládání chyb" (error management theory), podle níž systém funguje ve prospěch energeticky méně náročných chyb. Kvůli vysoké citlivosti behaviorálního imunitního systému se snižuje množství falešně negativních chyb, ale naopak se zvyšuje náchylnost vůči falešně pozitivním chybám. V důsledku generalizace pak tyto reakce mohou mít zásadní sociální implikace, jako je vliv na společenskost, ageismus, xenofobii a konformitu vůči normám. V neposlední řadě poukážeme na možnou souvislost mezi behaviorálním imunitním systémem a vznikem některých psychiatrických poruch, jako je obsedantně-kompulzivní porucha. Systém je funkčně flexibilní dle možné zranitelnosti jedince a aktuální situace, proto se stručně věnujeme i jevům souvisejícím s aktivací behaviorálního imunitního systému objevujícím se v současné situaci pandemie COVID-19.
... Within Biology, some literature can be found on how evolutionary processes can be described as higher-order adaptation; e.g., [30,31]. It has been shown in [7], Ch 7, how one case study concerning pregnancy and disgust can be modeled by a fourth-order adaptive self-modeling causal network model. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
An mp4 video can be downloaded from Linked Data or can be viewed at the YouTube channel on Self-Modeling Networks: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCO3i4_Fwi22cEqL8M_PgeA. Causal modeling is an intuitive, declarative way of modeling that due to the universal character of causality in principle applies to practically all disciplines. In spite of this seemingly very wide scope of applicability, there are also serious limitations and challenges that stand in the way of applicability, in particular when dynamics and adaptivity play a role. This paper addresses these challenges by exploiting the notion self-modeling network developed from a Network Science perspective. It is shown how temporal-causal networks allow modeling dynamics based on given causal relations and how self-modeling networks can be used to also model dynamic changes of the causal relations themselves. In this way, causal models are obtained that show dynamics of the nodes based on the causal relations as well as adaptivity of these causal relations. Adaptivity is obtained by adding self-models to a given causal base network; these self-models represent the base network's causal structure by additional network nodes for the causal relations that are adaptive. These self-models are themselves temporal-causal networks as well, are still specified in a declarative manner by mathematical relations and functions, and create a next level for the network by which the adaptation is addressed. Moreover, this construction can easily be iterated so that multiple orders of adaptation can be covered in the form of multilevel causal models, for example, addressing controlled adaptation or metaplasticity. So, this indeed takes causal modeling to a next level in more than one way so that now dynamics and adaptivity are also covered well, which substantially widens the scope of applicability of causal modeling. This is illustrated for a second-order adaptive self-modeling social network model for a case study on bonding by faked homophily.
... All participants were Israeli Jewish citizens who agreed to participate in the study and were not offered any compensation. Prior to analysis several types of participants were excluded; (1) participants who reported an unlikely answer in the two 'catch' items (e.g., ''would you rather eat a piece of fruit or a piece of paper'', Olatunji et al., 2007, N = 97), (2) participants who left any of the items unanswered (N = 128), and (3) pregnant women which were reported to show heightened levels of disgust (N = 2; Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005). After the removal of these participants the analysis was conducted on all remaining participants (N = 1427, 54% women). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we examined the construct and external validity of the Disgust Scale Revised (Olatunji, Williams, et al., 2007), in a large heterogeneous sample (N = 1427). In addition, we investigated the role of demographic variables on disgust's sensitivity. The findings reveal that the DS_R adheres to the three-factor structure (i.e., Core disgust, Animal-Reminder Disgust, and Contamination-Based Disgust), signifying the validity of the DS_R in a heterogeneous sample. Moreover, gender was found to have a large effect on DS_R score, while the effects of other demographic variables, such as religion, political view, education and age, were exceptionally modest. These results indicate that demographic variables, excluding gender, do not directly influence disgust's sensitivity. Rather, these variables mainly modulate the context in which disgust is elicited.
... Progesterone has also been suggested to the be involved in the expression of disgust. Progesterone has been implicated in the enhancement of pathogen and toxin avoidance in women (Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH) (Fessler et al., 2005;Fleischman and Fessler, 2011)). According to the CPH hypothesis progesterone-linked immunosuppression is associated with increased disgust towards pathogen cues. ...
Article
All animals are under the constant threat of attack by parasites. The mere presence of parasite threat can alter behavior before infection takes place. These effects involve disgust, an evolutionarily conserved affective system that functions to detect cues associated with parasites and facilitate avoidance behaviors. Animals gauge the infection status of conspecific and the threat they represent on the basis of various sensory cues. Odors in particular are a major source of social information about conspecifics and the infection threat they present. Here we consider the origins, expression, and regulation of pathogen disgust in rodents. We briefly discuss aspects of: (1) olfactory mediated recognition and avoidance of infected conspecifics and the impact of disgust on social behavior; (2) the neurobiological mechanisms, and in particular the roles of the nonapeptide, oxytocin, and steroidal hormones, in the expression of pathogen disgust and the regulation of avoidance behaviors. Understanding the roles of parasite disgust in rodents can provide insights into the regulation and expression of responses to pathogens and infection in humans.
... Adaptation of these causal relations occurs as changes in such networks; e.g., (Westerhoff et al., 2014a;Westerhoff et al., 2014b) (d) Dynamics due to causal pathways within organisms (Westerhoff et al., 2014a;Westerhoff et al., 2014b). Adaptation within evolutionary biological processes occurs as changing the causal pathways; e.g., (Fessler et al., 2005(Fessler et al., , 2015) (e) Dynamics of physical processes based on causal relations as used within the physical domain. Adaptation of such causal relations, occurs, for example, as adding smooth roads in a landscape achieving lower resistance when moving or adding digital electronic networks so that humans can interact via social media, or changing the positioning of the earth with respect to the sun achieving hourly and seasonal differences in meteorological dynamics; e.g., (Descartes, 1644;Leibniz, 1698;Newton, 1729;Lorenz, 1963;Lorenz, 1993) So, these examples illustrate that the causal relations themselves have some form of embodiment or representa-tion within the world and if that is changing, the causal relations and their effects change accordingly. ...
Article
Full-text available
See a video on the YouTube channel on Self-Modeling Networks here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCO3i4_Fwi22cEqL8M_PgeA. In this paper, a multilevel cognitive architecture is introduced that can be used to model mental processes in clients of psychotherapeutic sessions. The architecture does not only cover base level mental processes but also mental processes involving self-referencing, self-awareness and self-interpretation. To this end, the cognitive architecture was designed according to four levels, where (part of) the structure of each level is represented by an explicit self-model of it at the next-higher level of the architecture. At that next-higher level, states reify part of the structure of the level below; these states have a referencing relation to it. In this way the overall architecture includes its own overall self-model. The cognitive architecture was evaluated for a case study of a realistic type of therapeutic session from clinical practice.
... Additionally, there seems to be some evidence that behavioural immune system reactivity varies as a function of our biological immune system, so as to compensate for its shortcomings. For example, disgust and related avoidance behaviours, can be more pronounced 2 in women during luteal phase of menstrual cycle and during pregnancy (when biological immune system is supressed and women are more vulnerable to pathogens), or after recent illness which would have weakened the biological immune system (Fessler & Navarette, 2003;Fessler et al., 2005;Miller & Maner, 2011). Even though some of the results mentioned here have not been successfully replicated (see Jones et al., 2018;Tybur et al., 2020), the notion of interaction between biological and behavioural immune systems is theoretically plausible. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The behavioural immune system (BIS) refers to a wide array of affective and cognitive processes that motivate pathogen and disease avoidance. Even though general research in this area is steadily growing, there is only a small number of studies dealing with the physiological aspects of BIS. The goal of this study was to assess the activation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) during exposition to pathogen-salient stimuli. Participants (N=25) were shown pictures with different levels of pathogen-salience and were asked to rate their (un)pleasantness, while their electrodermal activity and reaction times were being recorded. Participants tended to react faster to the pathogen-salient pictures than to the comparable set of pathogen-free pictures. There was no significant change in magnitudes of skin conductance responses (SCRs) as a function of the type of stimuli. There was, however, a significant effect of pathogen salience on the latency of SCRs, with pathogen-salient pictures having a shorter latency period, which is in line with the notion of fast, automatic responses to pathogen cues. Furthermore, the scores on pathogen disgust subscale of the Three domain disgust scale correlated positively with the magnitude of SCRs and negatively with the reaction times to pathogen-salient stimuli, while having no relation with the same components in pathogen-free context. This indicates domain-specificity, as predicted by the BIS theoretical framework. Our findings provide only partial support for the notion that BIS activation is accompanied by significant ANS activation. Additionally, they underscore the importance of adding physiological measures to the subjective ones in order to further explore the mechanisms underlying BIS functioning.
... Hence, according to the assumption that higher progesterone concentrations lead to greater disgust, this feeling should be most intense in the end of pregnancy. However, women in the first trimester of pregnancy much more often experience increased disgust toward food and nausea, compared to women in later stages of pregnancy (Fessler, Eng, & Navarrette, 2005). This may suggest that progesterone is not the driving factor responsible for the changes in disgust among cycle phases as proposed earlier (Fleischman & Fessler, 2018). ...
Article
The Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis (CPH) proposes that during periods of increased susceptibility to infections, e.g., during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when progesterone suppresses immune function, women should feel more disgust toward pathogen cues and behave prophylactically. We investigate differences in disgust sensitivity and contamination sensitivity during different phases of the menstrual cycle in regularly cycling, healthy 93 rural and urban Polish women using the within-subject design. Disgust sensitivity was measured during two different phases of a menstrual cycle: 1) the follicular phase (the 5th or 6th day of the cycle) and 2) the luteal phase (on the 5th day after a positive ovulatory test or on 20th day of a cycle if the result of the ovulatory test was not positive). In the luteal phase, women scored higher on the Pathogen Disgust of the Three-Domain Disgust Scale, the Contamination Obsessions and Washing Compulsions Subscale of Padua Inventory, and on ratings of photographs showing sources of potential infections than in the follicular phase. Moral Disgust of the Three-Domain Disgust Scale did not differ between cycle phases. Hence, results suggest that women feel more disgusted toward cues to pathogens during the luteal phase, when susceptibility to infection is greater. We suggest that it is necessary to incorporate ovulatory testing as well as to conduct repeated measurements of disgust sensitivity in future tests of the CPH. Moreover, we believe that understanding how the feeling of pathogen disgust varies across the menstrual cycle and in relation to progesterone levels could be useful in designing effective infectious diseases prevention strategies for women.
... Disgust responding may also partially explain important biological processes during pregnancy. Indeed, it has been found that increased disgust responding in early pregnancy may serve to protect the body from disease as the immune system is compromised in order for the fetus to grow in its most vulnerable stages (Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005). Interestingly, although women endorse higher disgust propensity during the first trimester of pregnancy, mothers are overall less disgust-prone compared to women without children, likely due to repeated exposure to disgust stimuli such as bodily products during the course of parenting (Prokop & Fan covi cová, 2016). ...
Chapter
Disgust has been described as a basic emotion that evolved largely as a defensive mechanism. Although previously described as the ‘forgotten emotion,’ research on the emotion of disgust has seen a considerable rise in the last few decades. Accordingly, investigation into individual differences in disgust responding has become increasingly more prominent in the emotion literature over the last three decades. With this increase in attention, a parallel evolution in the development of disgust assessment has also emerged. Each measure has its own strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the appropriate measure may vary depending on the research question of interest, the study population, and research methodology. The present chapter will review the assessment of disgust through available self-report, behavioral, and implicit measures. Implications for understanding disgust and its measurement are discussed.
... In the database, there are also pictures of food that vary on the appetitiveness dimension (e.g., moldy or rotten the level of disgust for unpalatable foods, with the result that hungry adults express less disgust in response to pictures of unpalatable foods compared to satiated controls (Hoefling et al., 2009) and the same phenomenon has been found in thirsty participants (Meier et al., 2015). Also, certain food preferences can contingently shift as has been found among pregnant women during the first trimester (Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005); the function of disgust and nausea towards certain types of food (e.g., meat) would be to protect the fetus from teratogens (Flaxman & Sherman, 2000;Profet, 1992). food, fresh food). ...
Article
We provide norms collected on a sample of French adults for a subset of 209 food images selected from the food-pics image database (Blechert, Meule, Busch, & Ohla, 2014). The pictures were rated on arousal, familiarity, valence, liking, frequency of consumption, caloric content, healthiness, tastiness, desire to eat and perceived level of transformation. Reliability measures were computed for the norms. Descriptive statistical analyses and correlational analyses were performed. The entire set of norms, which will be very useful to researchers investigating the cognitive/emotional processing of food (e.g., food perception) and the determinants of eating behaviors, is available as Supplemental Material.
... Disgust protects individuals from potential contamination from pathogens (Curtis, de Barra, & Aunger, 2011) and thus modulation of immune system functioning has been described as upregulating disgust responses as a protective response (e.g., as during pregnancy; Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005). Thus, elevated disgust across all groups may lead to novel mechanistic hypotheses. ...
Article
Objective Individuals with a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder often alter their diet to manage GI symptoms, adding complexity to understanding the diverse motivations contributing to food avoidance/restriction. When a GI disorder is present, the DSM-5 states that Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) can be diagnosed only when eating disturbance exceeds that expected. There is limited guidance to make this determination. This study attempts to address this gap by characterizing the presentation of ARFID in adults with and without a self-reported GI disorder. Method Participants were 2,610 adults ages 18–44 who self-identified as “picky eaters.” Participants reported on motivations for food avoidance, affective experiences towards food, and perceived impairment. Responses were compared across four groups: GI issues and likely ARFID (L-ARFID/GI), L-ARFID-only, GI-only, and No-ARFID/No-GI. Results Groups with a GI disorder (L-ARFID/GI, GI-only) reported more fear of aversive consequences of eating than those without a GI disorder, while groups with L-ARFID (L-ARFID, L-ARFID/GI) evidenced significantly greater sensory aversion to food and indifference to food or eating, negative emotional reactions to food and overall disgust sensitivity, and eating related impairment. Discussion Consideration of the interplay of a GI disorder with ARFID can add precision to case conceptualization. Food avoidance may be attempts to manage fears of aversive consequences that are augmented by a history of GI symptoms, while sensory aversions and negative emotional reactions towards foods may be more elevated in ARFID. These findings emphasize the need to consider an ARFID diagnosis in patients with GI disorders to optimize care.
... Secondly, women tend to be more prepared to avoid disease threats than men as a result of their higher investment of energy in raising children. Consequently, the female gender would likely take on the responsibility of infectious disease protector (Fessler et al., 2005;Fessler and Navarrete, 2003;Adesina et al., 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Poor adherence to promoting health behaviours is a significant challenge for prevention and management of infectious respiratory diseases. Non-pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) remain a proven behavioural practice for reducing the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) currently ravaging the world. Studies on Covid-19 have primarily focused on epidemiology, virology, and potential drug treatments to the neglect of behavioural practice of low-income settings. This study examines the extent health belief model predicts the behavior of 405 urban poor residents of Ogun State, which recorded the first index case in Nigeria, towards adoption Covid-19 NPIs. A cross-sectional study was conducted to find out the relationship between study participant characteristics, HBM constructs and unhealthy behavior. Study constructs were assessed on a four point Likert scale and were mean aggregated such that higher scores indicated stronger feelings about a construct. Findings shows that urban poor in the age group 30–40 years were more likely to feel susceptible to contracting Covid-19 (mean score: 2.59 and std. dev. 0.54), they also had a higher perception of the benefit of Covid-19 preventive behaviours than participants in other age groups (mean score: 2.95 and std. dev. 0.71). Also, the most prevalent unhealthy behaviour amongst urban poor residents was the indiscriminate use of facemasks as shown by almost half (47.6%) of participants who agreed that they use facemasks all the time even when alone. The study concludes that though urban poor residents feel threatened by Covid-19, nexus of factors such as low financial earnings, inadequate knowledge, and limited access to basic medical needs hamper the effective adoption of NPIs.
... A specific role that disgust plays in mitigating risk is to help distance people from others who could contaminate them (van Leeuwen & Petersen, 2018). Research suggests that peoples' disgust response can even increase during periods when they are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease (e.g., the first trimester of pregnancy ;Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the face of a novel infectious disease, changing our collective behaviour is critical to saving lives. One determinant of risk perception and risk behaviour that is often overlooked is the degree to which we share psychological group membership with others. We outline, and summarize supporting evidence for, a theoretical model that articulates the role of shared group membership in attenuating health risk perception and increasing health risk behaviour. We emphasize the importance of attending to these processes in the context of the ongoing response to COVID‐19 and conclude with three recommendations for how group processes can be harnessed to improve this response.
... Progesterone has also been suggested to be involved in the expression of disgust. Progesterone has been implicated in the enhancement of pathogen and toxin avoidance in women (Compensatory Prophylaxis Hypothesis [96,97]). In this proposal, progesterone-linked immunosuppression was associated with an increased detection of, and aversive responses to, pathogen cues. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although the evolutionary causes and consequences of pathogen avoidance have been gaining ncreasing interest there has been less attention paid to the proximate neurobiological mechanisms.Animals gauge the infection status of conspecifics and the threat they represent on the basis of varioussensory and social cues. Here, we consider the neurobiology of pathogen detection and avoidance from a cognitive, motivational, and affective state (“disgust”) perspective focusing on the mechanisms associated with activating and directing parasite/pathogen avoidance. Drawing upon studies with laboratory rodents, we briefly discuss aspects of: (1) olfactory mediated recognition and avoidance of infected conspecifics; (2) relationships between pathogen avoidance and various social factors (e.g. social vigilance, social distancing (approach/avoidance), social salience, social reward); (3) the roles of various brain regions (in particular the amygdala and insular cortex) and neuromodulators (neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, steroidal hormones, and immune components) in the regulation of pathogen avoidance. We propose that understanding the proximate neurobiological mechanisms can provide insights into the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the non-consumptive effects of pathogens and how, when, and why females and males engage in pathogen avoidance.
... It is a trait that varies between individuals, and many studies have explored its psychological and physiological correlates and determinants (Brenner & Inbar, 2015;Val Curtis et al., 2004;Fessler et al., 2004;Herz, 2012;Miller et al., 2017;Navarrete & Fessler, 2006). Interestingly, even specific transitory states of the body, such as pregnancy or being recently ill, can influence the tendency to experience disgust (Fessler et al., 2005;Flaxman & Sherman, 2000;Prokop & Fančovičová, 2016;Stevenson et al., 2009;Tybur, Jones, et al., 2020;Tybur, Lieberman, et al., 2020;Tybur, Wesseldijk, et al., 2020;Żelaźniewicz & Pawłowski, 2015). Thus, one's disgust sensitivity can vary according to circumstances (Curtis et al., 2011;Reynolds et al., 2014;Schienle et al., 2013). ...
Article
Disgust sensitivity differs among men and women, and this phenomenon has been observed across numerous cultures. It remains unknown why such sex differences occur, but one of the reasons may relate to differences in self‐presentation. We tested that hypothesis in an experiment comprising 299 participants (49% women) randomly allocated into three groups. Each group completed the Three Domains Disgust Scale (TDDS) and rated how disgusting they found olfactory, visual, gustatory, and tactile disgust elicitors either when a male experimenter was present, a female experimenter was present, or no experimenter was present. We hypothesised that male participants in the female experimenter group would declare decreased levels of disgust sensitivity, and female participants in the male experimenter group would declare increased levels of disgust sensitivity. Results showed that despite sex differences in pathogen and sexual disgust, attractive experimenters did not evoke any differences in declared disgust across groups with one exception–both men and women self‐presented as more sensitive to sexual disgust in the presence of the female experimenter. We discuss our findings in the light of evolutionary and social theories.
... nor did germ aversion vary by trimester, F(2,86) = 0.528, p = .591. Thus, we did not replicate past research demonstrating increased pathogen avoidance in the first trimester (Fessler, 2005). ...
Article
Throughout human evolutionary history, women have faced significant adaptive challenges during pregnancy. Natural selection may therefore have favored psychological mechanisms to help women prepare for birth and motherhood. Previous researchers have conceptualized such mechanisms as comprising a form of “nesting,” consisting of selectivity in one's social relationships and motivations to prepare a safe and clean environment, both of which may have been beneficial in the context of childbirth and childrearing. The current study aimed to replicate and extend previous evidence for nesting (Anderson & Rutherford, 2013). Consistent with prior work, results suggest that pregnant women (n = 91) engaged in more nesting than non-pregnant women (n = 102), and that degree of nesting increased across weeks of gestation. Among pregnant women, high levels of germ aversion and having relatively high socioeconomic status were both associated with heightened nesting. A number of other theoretically relevant variables (e.g., progesterone, oxidative stress, sociosexual orientation) displayed null associations with nesting. Findings strengthen support for the hypothesis that nesting is a pervasive phenomenon among pregnant women and provide new insight into predictors of nesting.
... Future studies should investigate the effect of body odors occurring from naturally occurring respiratory infection on people with compromised immune system such as HIV or cancer patients, or older people with a lifelong exposure to infections. An interesting finding along these lines is that pregnant women, especially during their first trimester when their immune system is suppressed, express a higher disgust sensitivity to foods (Fessler et al., 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
Animal studies suggest that ill-health can be detected by way of body odor which, in turn, can be important information for the receiver to avoid potential infectious transmission from the sick individual. There are also a number of human observational studies that indicate that different types of disease are associated with more or less aversive smells. Recent studies have indicated that the body odor from otherwise healthy human individuals smell more aversive within a few hours as a function of a systemic inflammation of bacterial type induced by experimental exposure to an endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide). To investigate if naturally occurring immune activation also gives rise to perceivable olfactory changes, we collected body odor samples during five nights from individuals with a respiratory infection as well as when they were healthy. We hypothesized that independent raters would rate the body odor originating from sick individuals as smelling more aversive than when the same individuals were healthy. Even though body odor samples from sick individuals nominally smelled more intense, more disgusting, and less pleasant than the body odor from the same individuals when healthy, these effects were not statistically significant. Moreover, three questionnaires, Perceived Vulnerability to Disease, Disgust Scale, and Health Anxiety, were administered to the raters of the body odor to assess potential associations between sickness-related personality traits and body odor perception. No such association was found. Since experimentally induced inflammation have made body odors more aversive in previous studies, we discuss whether this difference between studies is due to the level of sickness or to the type of trigger of a sickness response.
... Adaptation of these causal relations occurs as changes in such networks; e.g., (Westerhoff et al. 2014a, b) (d) Dynamics due to causal pathways within organisms (Westerhoff et al. 2014a, b). Adaptation within evolutionary biological processes occurs as changing the causal pathways; e.g., (Fessler et al. 2005(Fessler et al. , 2015) (e) Dynamics of physical processes based on causal relations as used within the physical domain. Adaptation of such causal relations, occurs, for example, as adding smooth roads in a landscape achieving lower resistance when moving or adding digital electronic networks so that humans can interact via social media, or changing the positioning of the earth with respect to the sun achieving hourly and seasonal differences in meteorological dynamics; e.g., (Descartes 1644;Leibniz 1698;Newton 1729;Lorenz 1963Lorenz , 1993. ...
Chapter
In this chapter, a multilevel cognitive architecture is introduced that can be used to model mental processes in clients of psychotherapeutic sessions and in particular the mental (self-)models they have about themselves. The architecture does not only cover base level mental processes but also mental processes involving self-referencing, self-awareness and self-interpretation. To this end, the cognitive architecture was designed according to four levels, where (part of) the structure of each level is represented by an explicit self-model of it at the next-higher level of the architecture. At that next-higher level, states represent part of the structure of the level below; these states have a referencing relation to it. In this way the overall architecture includes its own overall self-model. The cognitive architecture was evaluated for a case study of a realistic type of therapeutic session from clinical practice.
... Supporting the view that disgust might serve to protect against disease, it has been found that disgust responsivity (see the section on assessment and diagnostic issues) is heightened in people with low immune status (Fessler, Eng, & Navarette, 2005). For instance, disgust propensity (i.e., the likelihood to experience, and to respond with disgust) was found to be relatively high during the first trimester of pregnancy when mother and fetus are most vulnerable to infectious disease (Fessler et al., 2005). Because sexual behaviors imply significant pathogen exposure, sexual stimuli and behaviors seem to be obvious candidates for eliciting disgust. ...
Chapter
A critical feature of sexual aversion, according to the authors of this chapter, is that “sex is experienced as inherently disgusting.” While historically classified as a sexual desire disorder, present diagnostic nosology has subsumed sexual aversion into the category of genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (DSM-5), or a sexual pain/penetration disorder, or a phobia (ICD-11). However, Borg, Both, ter Kuile, and de Jong make a strong case in Chapter 10 that the decision to eliminate a separate diagnosis of sexual aversion was misguided, observing: “When individuals who are disgusted by sex are nonetheless forced to engage in it, this may give rise to fear and pain, but this does not imply that such individuals can best be categorized as suffering from a phobia or from GPPPD.” They point out that because of the universality of the emotion of disgust, there are strong theoretical reasons to believe that this emotion can interfere with sexual function. They support this contention through case histories and empirical studies. They point out that sexual aversion disorder may not only exist as a separate disorder but in fact, may also be a primary underlying issue for many individuals suffering from reduced desire and arousal or vaginismus. Unfortunately, there are no systematic treatment studies for sexual aversion, but clinical experience and theory suggest that prolonged and hierarchical exposure is an important first treatment step.
... Disgust has evolved as a disease-avoidance mechanism (Oaten, Stevenson, & Case, 2009), effectively inhibiting human adults from contacting a range of reliable sources of pathogens (e.g., feces, vomit, spoiled food, fleas, and organic decay). The emotion appears to be universal (Curtis, Aunger, & Rabie, 2004;Curtis & Biran, 2001), but is thought to be evoked more intensely in people who might bear higher costs from contracting disease (e.g., women generally, and women in the first trimester of pregnancy in particular; Al-Shawaf, Lewis, & Buss, 2018;Druschel & Sherman, 1999;Fessler, Eng, & Navarrete, 2005). Individuals chronically differ in the extent to which they tend to experience disgust in the face of potentially contaminating stimuli (e.g., Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994). ...
Article
Perceptions of interpersonal similarity are accompanied by attraction and bonding, often leading to physical contact. Given that physical proximity to social beings increases the odds of catching infectious diseases, we propose a reverse relationship, whereby sensitivity to the presence of pathogens results in perceiving unfamiliar others as less similar to oneself. Four studies involving 980 participants and operationalizing others in three different ways confirm that individual differences in propensity to feel disgust (i.e., react emotionally to potential sources of pathogens in the environment) are associated with perceptions of interpersonal similarity to strangers. Study 1 showed that individuals who score higher in disgust sensitivity perceive themselves as less psychologically similar to visually displayed social targets. Study 2, using vague descriptions of hypothetical figures, found that high-disgust-sensitivity participants tend to assume that others' personal preferences contrast with their own. Study 3 demonstrated that the disgust–dissimilarity association holds for prototypical members of social groups. Finally, Study 4 confirmed that this link reflects pathogen-related (above and beyond sexual or moral) disgust. In all studies, controlling for participants' gender, religiosity, and illness recency did not change the results. We discuss our findings and propose novel directions for future research.
... Immunological changes in pregnancy leave the childbearing woman more vulnerable to specific pathogens that can disrupt fetal development or lead to miscarriage (Fessler 2002). Evolutionary anthropological theory predicts that women evolved responses to these threats, such as physiological reactions in the form of nausea and vomiting in the first trimester, heightened disgust, and aversions toward potentially harmful foods, such as meat (Fessler 2002;Fessler, Eng, and Navarrete 2005;Flaxman and Sherman 2000;Hook 1978;Profet 1995). Profet (1995) emphasized the risk plant-derived teratogens (e.g. ...
Article
Pregnancy fasting poses a paradox: why would a woman restrict her diet during a period of increased nutritional need? This qualitative, cross-sectional study applied biological and cultural evolutionary theories of pregnancy diet to emic models of fasting with the aim of establishing a testable biocultural framework of pregnancy fasting. The research took place with Muslim women residing in Mysore, India. In-depth interviews were conducted with pregnant women who have experience and knowledge of fasting during during the holy month of Ramadan. Our findings indicate that pregnancy fasting is socially acquired via multiple modes of transmission and that women do not fast according to mainstream evolutionary theories of pregnancy diet, but perhaps to gain moral capital.
Preprint
Being cared for when sick is a benefit of sociality that can reduce disease and improve survival of group members. However, individuals providing care risk contracting infectious diseases themselves. If they contract a low pathogen dose, they may develop micro-infections that do not cause disease, but still affect host immunity by either decreasing or increasing the host’s vulnerability to subsequent pathogen infections. Caring for contagious individuals can thus significantly alter the future disease susceptibility of caregivers. Using ants and their fungal pathogens as a model system, we here tested if the altered disease susceptibility of experienced caregivers, in turn, affects their expression of sanitary care behaviour. We found that micro-infections contracted during sanitary care had protective or neutral effects upon secondary exposure to the same (homologous) pathogen, but consistently induced high mortality upon super-infection with a different (heterologous) pathogen. In response to this risk, the ants selectively adjusted the expression of their sanitary care. Specifically, the ants performed less grooming yet more antimicrobial disinfection, when caring for nestmates contaminated with heterologous pathogens as compared to homologous ones. By modulating the components of sanitary care in this way, the ants reduced their probability of contracting super-infections of the harmful heterologous pathogens. The performance of risk-adjusted sanitary care reveals the remarkable capacity of ants to react to changes in their disease susceptibility, according to their own infection history, and to flexibly adjust collective care to individual risk.
Article
Although disgust proneness (DP) is increasingly recognized as a personality characteristic that confers risk for psychiatric conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the extent to which it reflects a time-varying (TV) or state-like factor versus a time-invariant (TI) or trait-like personality characteristic is unclear. In a 6-wave, 5-month longitudinal study, community participants (n = 982) recruited through ResearchMatch completed the Disgust Propensity and Sensitivity Scale Revised (van Overveld, de Jong, Peters, Cavanagh, & Davey, 2006), a measure of three variants of DP including Somatic Disgust Sensitivity, Ruminative Disgust Sensitivity, and Disgust Propensity. A latent variable (trait-state-occasion) model was applied to all of the DP dimensions. The results showed that although estimates of TI factor variance and TV factor variance were both significant for Somatic Disgust, Ruminative Disgust, and Disgust Propensity, the proportion of TI factor variance (range from .68 to .82) for the DP dimensions was substantially and significantly greater than the amount of TV factor variance (range from .18 to .32). Furthermore, while TV factor stability was statistically significant for the DP dimensions, the size of the coefficients were only moderate in magnitude. Subsequent analysis then examined the extent to which TV or TI components of DP were associated with latent OCD symptoms at each of the six time points. The results showed that estimates of the regression weight for the TI DP factor were significant and larger than those for the TV factor which were often nonsignificant. These findings suggest that DP is largely TI, and it is this TI component that is most strongly associated with OCD symptoms.
Book
Full-text available
Se a nutrição nos ensina que comer é um imperativo fisiológico da espécie humana, a antropologia nos mostra que essa necessidade pode ser satisfeita de diversas formas diferentes. Os dados de várias culturas alimentares ao redor do mundo derrubam a ideia do modelo ideal de dieta e nos ensinam que as dietas com capacidade de nutrir a saúde humana e do planeta, longe de ser mirabolantes, são adaptadas aos contextos culturais e ambientais onde as pessoas vivem. Assim, a capacidade de analisar o componente cultural da alimentação é uma das habilidades relevantes para o profissional de nutrição hoje. Apesar disso, carecemos de livros-textos que possam servir de referência para o ensino dessa competência. Alimentação e cultura para Nutrição é a primeira versão de uma obra que pretende introduzir nutricionistas e estudiosos da área ao desafio de pensar alimentação a partir de uma perspectiva socioecológica, visando aprimorar sua capacidade de realizar diagnósticos e intervenções mais efetivos em contextos culturais diversos. O livro foi preparado especialmente para apoiar professores de cursos de formação em nutrição e, por isso, é alinhado com as Diretrizes curriculares propostas para a área pelo MEC. Cada um dos 12 capítulos conta com objetivos claros de aprendizagem, sequência pedagógica, exercícios propostos e chaves de resposta.
Article
Exposure and susceptibility underlie every organism’s parasite burden, and an untold diversity of factors can drive variation in both. Often, both exposure and susceptibility change in response to a given factor, and they can interact, such that their relative contributions to observed disease dynamics are obscured. These independent and interlinked changes often complicate empirical inference in disease ecology and ecoimmunology. Although many disease ecology studies address this problem, it is often implicit rather than explicit and requires a specific set of tools to tackle. Moreover, as yet, there is no established conceptual framework for disentangling susceptibility and exposure processes. Here, we consolidate previous theory and empirical understanding regarding the entwined effects of susceptibility and exposure, which we refer to as “the Twin Pillar Problem”. We provide a framework for conceptualising exposure‐susceptibility interactions, where they obscure, confound, induce, or counteract one another, providing some well‐known examples for each complicating mechanism. We synthesise guidelines for anticipating and controlling for covariance between exposure and susceptibility, and we detail statistical and operational methodology that researchers have employed to deal with them. Finally, we discuss novel emerging frontiers in their study in ecology, and their potential for further integration in the fields of wildlife and human health.
Article
Full-text available
Psikoloji araştırmalarının teori-merkezli mi yoksa sonuç-merkezli bir yapıya mı sahip olması gerektiğine ilişkin tartışmalar, yaklaşık kırk yıl gibi uzun bir zaman dilimine tarihlenmektedir. Özellikle, teori tarafından yönlendirilen araştırma pratiğinin, doğrulama yanlılığına ve dogmatik bir bilim anlayışına yol açtığına yönelik argümanlar, bu tartışmanın ana odağını oluşturmaktadır. Bu derlemede ise, teori-merkezli ve sonuç-merkezli araştırma yönelimlerinin, psikoloji biliminin meta-teorisi olma iddiasıyla ortaya çıkan evrimsel psikoloji içerisinde nasıl bir konum edindiği incelenmiştir. Sonrasında, adaptasyonist program özelinde teori-merkezli evrimsel psikoloji araştırmalarına yöneltilen başlıca eleştiriler özetlenmiş ve psikoloji biliminin bu kadim tartışması ile bağlantı kurulmuştur.
Article
This article provides an overview of the “behavioural immune system” – a suite of psychological mechanisms that complements immunological defences by motivating pre-emptive behavioural responses to infection threats – and summarises research documenting its implications for social attitudes and social behaviour. This summary focuses on four domains of phenomena: interpersonal interactions, stigma and prejudice, conformity, and political attitudes. Then, drawing on this conceptual and empirical background, the article discusses consequences that disease outbreaks (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) may have for individuals’ attitudes and actions, and the further consequences that these attitudes and actions might plausibly have for population-level epidemiological and public health outcomes.
Chapter
Networks provide an intuitive, declarative way of modeling with a wide scope of applicability. In many cases also adaptivity of a network plays a role, which easily leads to less declarative and transparent forms of modeling by using algorithmic or procedural descriptions for the adaptation processes. This chapter addresses this by exploiting the notion of self-modeling network that has been developed recently. Using that, adaptivity is obtained by adding a self-model to a given base network, with states that represent part of the base network’s structure. This adds a next level to the base network, resulting in a two-level network. This construction can easily be iterated to obtain more levels so that multiple orders of adaptation can be covered as well. This brings networks to a next level in more than one way. In particular, a three-level self-modeling network can be used to integrate dynamics, adaptivity and control in one network. It is shown how this can be used to design network models for mental model handling.
Chapter
Full-text available
Sex and sexual behaviour are a core part of life; aside from reproduction, sex can be pleasurable, healthy, and beneficial for developing intimacy. Alongside these desirable features, however, sex also has the clear downside of increasing the chances for contracting infectious diseases. The inherent contagious nature of sexual (by)products and sexual behaviour may help explain why sexual stimuli (e.g., sweat, saliva, and the ejaculate) may also be considered potent disgust elicitors across cultures (Rozin, et al., Journal of Research in Personality 29:318–340, 1995). In this chapter, we describe how sexual behaviours and some sex stimuli may elicit disgust responses and consequently hinder sexual arousal; whereas other sex stimuli, generally those associated with sexual appeal, may generate sexual arousal and weaken the disgust response to contamination-relevant features of sex stimuli and sexual behaviours. We also explore the pathways relevant to understanding how people engage in sexual activity, and how core sex stimuli may signal contagion. Additionally, we explore novel interventions that can be used to accentuate sexual arousal and weaken sexual disgust, as well as to weaken sexual arousal when it is undesired. These disgust-based interventions are outlined to provide a contemporary perspective about their potential application in the context of human sexual expression.
Article
Full-text available
Emotions can be explained as specialized states, shaped by natural selection, that increase fitness in specific situations. The physiological, psychological, and behavioral characteristics of a specific emotion can be analyzed as possible design features that increase the ability to cope with the threats and opportunities present in the corresponding situation. This approach to understanding the evolutionary functions of emotions is illustrated by the correspondence between (a) the subtypes of fear and the different kinds of threat; (b) the attributes of happiness and sadness and the changes that would be advantageous in propitious and unpropitious situations; and (c) the social emotions and the adaptive challenges of reciprocity relationships. In addition to addressing a core theoretical problem shared by evolutionary and cognitive psychology, explicit formulations of the evolutionary functions of specific emotions are of practical importance for understanding and treating emotional disorders.
Article
Full-text available
Approximately two-thirds of women experience nausea or vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. These symptoms are commonly known as morning sickness. Hook (1976) and Profet (1988) hypothesized that morning sickness protects the embryo by causing pregnant women to physically expel and subsequently avoid foods that contain teratogenic and abortifacient chemicals, especially toxic chemicals in strong-tasting vegetables, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. We examined this hypothesis by comprehensively reviewing the relevant medical, psychological and anthropological literature. In its support, (i) symptoms peak when embryonic organogenesis is most susceptible to chemical disruption (weeks 6-18), (ii) women who experience morning sickness are significantly less likely to miscarry than women who do not (9 of 9 studies), (iii) women who vomit suffer fewer miscarriages than those who experience nausea alone, and (iv) many pregnant women have aversions to alcoholic and nonalcoholic (mostly caffeinated) beverages and strong-tasting vegetables, especially during the first trimester. Surprisingly, however, the greatest aversions are to meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. A cross-cultural analysis using the Human Relations Area Files revealed 20 traditional societies in which morning sickness has been observed and seven in which it has never been observed. The latter were significantly less likely to have animal products as dietary staples and significantly more likely to have only plants (primarily corn) as staples than the 20 societies in which morning sickness occurred. Animal products may be dangerous to pregnant women and their embryos because they often contain parasites and pathogens, especially when stored at room temperatures in warm climates. Avoiding foodborne microorganisms is particularly important to pregnant women because they are immunosuppressed, presumably to reduce the chances of rejecting tissues of their own offspring (Haig 1993). As a result, pregnant women are more vulnerable to serious, often deadly infections. We hypothesize that morning sickness causes women to avoid foods that might be dangerous to themselves or their embryos, especially foods that, prior to widespread refrigeration, were likely to be heavily laden with microorganisms and their toxins. The alternative hypotheses that morning sickness is (i) an epiphenomenon of mother-offspring genetic conflict or hormones associated with viable pregnancies, or (ii) an indicator to potential sexual partners and kin that the woman is pregnant, resulting in reduced sexual behavior and increased nepotistic aid, were not well supported. Available data are most consistent with the hypothesis that morning sickness serves an adaptive, prophylactic function.
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
Immunosuppression during pregnancy makes the mother vulnerable to pathogens. Because meat is the principal source of ingestible pathogens, pregnancy raises the costs of meat eating. Natural selection has crafted a mechanism involving changes in nausea susceptibility and olfactory perception that reduces meat consumption during pregnancy. Evidence is presented showing that the luteal phase is marked by both immunosuppression and changes in nausea susceptibility and olfaction; meat consumption may be reduced during this period, suggesting a mechanism similar to pregnancy sickness. Constraints on compensatory increases in meat consumption outside of the luteal phase explain why women eat less meat than men. Meat is the principal target of acquired aversions. Women possess more aversions than men, suggesting that prophylactic mechanisms sometimes result in longstanding dietary changes. Reproductive immunosuppression explains many aspects of dietary behavior and sheds light on factors that may have contributed to gender-based divisions of labor during hominid evolution.
Article
Full-text available
Pregnancy sickness, a suite of "symptoms" that frequently co-occur during pregnancy, may be an adaptation providing behavioral prophylaxis against infection. Maternal immunosupression, necessary for tolerance of the fetus, results in gestational vulnerability to pathogens. Throughout the period of maximal vulnerability, dietary behavior is significantly altered via changes in nausea susceptibility and olfaction and the development of marked aversions and cravings. Of food types, meat is both the most likely to carry pathogens and the principal target of gestational aversions and pregnancy taboos. Because meat was prominent in ancestral human diets but hygienic procedures that effectively eliminate the risk of meat-borne infection are recent, such pathogens likely constituted a source of selective pressure on pregnant females throughout human history. Both the relatively low protein and energy demands of the first trimester and the existense of nonmeat alternatives would have allowed for the evolution of time-limited gestational meat-avoidance mechanisms.Complementing these mechanisms, gestational cravings target substances that may influence immune functioning and affect the availability of iron in the gastro-intestinal tract, thereby limiting the proliferation of iron-dependent pathogens. Clinical and ethnographic findings are examined in light of these proposals, and directions for future research are outlined.
Article
Full-text available
Disgust is a powerful human emotion that has been little studied until recently. Current theories do not coherently explain the purpose of disgust, nor why a wide range of stimuli can provoke a similar emotional response. Over 40 000 individuals completed a web-based survey using photo stimuli. Images of objects holding a potential disease threat were reported as significantly more disgusting than similar images with little or no disease relevance. This pattern of response was found across all regions of the world. Females reported higher disgust sensitivity than males; there was a constant decline in disgust sensitivity over the life course; and the bodily fluids of strangers were found more disgusting than those of close relatives. These data provide evidence that the human disgust emotion may be an evolved response to objects in the environment that represent threats of infectious disease.
Article
Disgust reactions are believed to result from a defensive, physiological, human emotion that is present from birth with the purpose of protecting individuals from harm (e.g. poisoning). Yet, disgusteliciting stimuli eventually expand to include socio-moral stimuli like sex acts (e.g. incest) and socio-cultural stimuli like social status (e.g. Hindu caste system). Inevitably, personal traits become important variables determining what is deemed disgusting. This study expanded on previous research that investigated the association between personality traits (i.e. neuroticism and psychoticism) and disgust sensitivity by examining the possible relationship between DSM III-R Axis II personality types and disgust sensitivity in a non-clinical sample of 149 college undergraduates. The current findings revealed that the degree to which respondents could be seen as having certain personality types—;Schizoid, Obsessive Compulsive, and Dependent—;was significantly related to disgust sensitivity as were participants' gender and age.
Article
Comparing food taboos across 78 cultures, this paper demonstrates that meat, though a prized food, is also the principal target of proscriptions. Reviewing existing explanations of taboos, we é nd that both functionalist and symbolic approaches fail to account for meat' s cross-cultural centrality and do not reè ect experience-near aspects of food taboos, principal among which is disgust. Adopting an evolutionary approach to the mind, this paper presents an alternative to existing explanations of food taboos. Consistent with the attendant risk of pathogen transmission, meat has special salience as a stimulus for humans, as animal products are stronger elicitors of disgust and aversion than plant products. We identify three psychosocial processes, socially-mediated ingestive conditioning, egocentric empathy , and normative moralization , each of which likely plays a role in transforming individual disgust responses and conditioned food aversions into institutionalized food taboos.
Article
Disgust operates in many domains of behavior. On the presumption that facets of this emotion evince adaptive design, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 307 women, investigating changes in disgust sensitivity across the menstrual cycle. Two hypotheses were tested, namely (i) sexual disgust is an adaptation that serves to reduce participation in biologically suboptimal sexual behaviors, and (ii) many facets of disgust sensitivity compensate for cyclic changes in immunological robusticity via patterned alterations in behavioral prophylaxis against pathogens. Hypothesis (i) was supported, as disgust sensitivity in the sexual domain, and only in the sexual domain, was positively correlated with presumed conception risk as assessed on the basis of self-reported position in the menstrual cycle. Hypothesis (ii) was not supported, as no facet of disgust sensitivity changed as a function of the presumed level of immunosuppression assessed on the basis of self-reported position in the menstrual cycle. Results are discussed in light of published ethnographic evidence indicating that, in disparate cultures, disgust is elicited by aberrant sexual behaviors, and sex is equated with eating. Together with published findings on an animal model of sexual conditioning, this corpus suggests that sexual disgust may be a panmammalian adaptation.
Article
Sixty-eight undergraduate students experienced 32 hands-on tasks designed to provide a behavioral validation for the paper-and-pencil Disgust Scale, which the students had completed 2 months before. Tasks assessed participant-determined degree of exposure (looking at, picking up, touching, and in some cases eating) to objects such as a cockroach, cremated ashes, and a freshly killed pig's head and to disgusting video clips (seconds watching). These tasks elicited strong negative affect in a way that was ethical and not very disturbing to participants; they may be useful for future laboratory study of emotion. Participants also experienced nondisgusting control tasks, such as imitating a chicken or holding one's hand in ice-water. Analysis of task intercorrelations indicated four factors: food-related disgust, body-violation-and-death-related disgust, compliance motivation, and embarrassability. Only the two disgust factors correlated significantly with the paper-and-pencil Disgust Scale; a combination of the two correlated .58 with Disgust Scale scores obtained months before the laboratory assessment and correlated .71 with scores obtained immediately after this assessment. Most generally, these results are a reminder that there is no gold standard for personality assessment. As with paper-and-pencil measures, behavioral measures require getting beyond face validity to assess threats to validity from factors such as embarrassment and compliance motivation.
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
Our purpose was to provide a detailed description of patterns of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. A prospective study was performed with 160 women who provided daily recordings of frequency, duration, and severity of nausea and vomiting. Seventy-four percent of women reported nausea lasting a mean of 34.6 days. "Morning sickness" occurred in only 1.8% of women, whereas 80% reported nausea lasting all day. Only 50% of women were relieved by 14 weeks' gestation; 90% had relief by week 22. Data based on the McGill Nausea Questionnaire indicate that the nausea experienced by pregnant women is similar in character and intensity to the nausea experienced by patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy. Traditional teachings about nausea and vomiting of pregnancy are contradicted by our findings. Standardized tools for measuring the distribution, duration, and intensity of nausea are applicable to the study of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and could be used in clinical trials to assess palliative measures.