Disgust and Moral Judgment
DOI link for Disgust and Moral Judgment
Disgust and Moral Judgment book
Intuitive emotions may be one means by which we make moral judgments, and disgust might be involved in this process. We explore this suggestion by examining data from three empirical approaches. The first approach involves inducing disgust and then examining its impact on moral and other judgments; this approach ensures that any observed effects must result from the induction of disgust. Unfortunately, few studies have adopted this method, and those that have often omit appropriate controls. The second approach examines trait differences in disgust sensitivity and moral judgments. The third approach focuses on the simultaneous experience of disgust while making moral judgments. While these approaches are of high ecological validity, they do not permit an examination of competing explanations of effects on moral judgments. We consider three contender accounts: (1) there is a causal link between judgments of moral violations and disgust, (2) moral violations are disgusting to the extent that they bring to mind core elicitors of disgust feelings, and (3) disgust is used metaphorically to describe complex reactions to moral violations. We conclude that moral violations might recruit disgust only to the extent that they also involve core disgust elicitors (e.g., contamination cues).