How Feelings Of Disgust Lead To Immoral Behavior

Nobody likes to feel disgusted. But evidence suggests that disgust is an evolutionary adaptation that protects us from potentially harmful things like rotting food or filthy environments.

A 2012 study shows a provocative link between disgust and moral behavior, finding that people make more ethical decisions in the wake of disgusting experiences. However, new research suggests that just the opposite may be true.

The research, conducted by marketing experts from Rice University, Arizona State University and Pennsylvania State University, found that people are more likely to engage in immoral behaviors like lying and cheating after experiencing disgust, and that experiences of cleanliness then eliminated these negative behavioral effects.

Because disgust involves a focus on self-preservation, it may also be a driving force behind self-interested behavior, even in cases in which it requires us to behave immorally.

“When people feel disgusted, they tend to remove themselves from a situation,” Vikas Mittal, marketing professor at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, said in a university statement. “Small cheating starts to occur: If I’m disgusted and more focused on myself and I need to lie a little bit to gain a small advantage, I’ll do that. That’s the underlying —> Read More Here


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