Monday, August 12, 2019

Despite being frequently classified as a “basic” emotion, full-fledged disgust develops considerably later than all other basic emotions; being disgusting is heavily contingent upon cultural learning

Developing Disgust: Theory, Measurement, and Application. Joshua Rottman, Jasmine DeJesus, Heather Greenebaum. Handbook of Emotional Development pp 283-309, July 5 2019.

Abstract: Disgust is a complex and uncharacteristic emotion. Despite being frequently classified as a “basic” emotion, disgust has a wide range of elicitors, many competing functional theories, and a protracted developmental trajectory. This chapter first reviews several ultimate explanations of disgust, highlighting how scholars historically privileged symbolic explanations, while most contemporary researchers believe disgust to be an adaptive pathogen avoidance mechanism. After a brief discussion of techniques for measuring disgust, we describe the current knowledge of the development of disgust, with special attention to the ways in which disgust influences food choice and contributes to contamination sensitivity. While certain aspects of disgust may be universal, its emergence is largely enculturated and its expression is highly variable. We conclude by discussing the ways in which the study of disgust carries practical implications for the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathologies, for nutrition, and for the implementation of public health initiatives. Although scholarly interest in disgust has greatly increased during recent years, there is still much room for further exploration of this enigmatic emotion.

Keywords: Disgust Development Childhood Avoidance Disease Emotion Food

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