No matter how strange this sounds, disgust seems to be good for you. Researchers have just paired those intense disgust sensations with a response of our organisms against pathogens. Through a study, they could identify six categories of disgust that issue a protective effect on us, so such a repulsion is actually natural.
Six categories of disgust
Animals have always been adopting behaviors that helped them stay away from diseases. In humans, this is well exhibited through disgust, which is far from being a bad response of the organism. Now, researchers managed to take a look at this feeling and discovered quite a strong structure behind it. In fact, they even found six categories of disgust that help us run from diseases.
To get this result, researchers have selected over 2,500 people and showed them 75 situations of various degrees of grossness. The participants had to rate these situations depending on how disgusting they found it, from a minimum level of ‘no disgust’ to a maximum of ‘extreme disgust’. Researchers didn’t want to spare the participants, so they presented them with some of the oddest scenarios.
Based on these answers, researchers identified six categories of disgust that seem to be our responses in front of diseases. Therefore, we can exhibit disgust in front of the following elements. These are improper hygiene, insects or animals, strange sexual behavior, strange appearance or diseases in people, wounds or lesions on a person’s body, or spoiled food.
Humans don’t group their disgust depending on the actual biological threat
As you would expect, people do not categorize their threats properly. We don’t put these six categories of disgust judging on the biological risk they present. On the contrary, we identify threats and group them together based on their common features.
While humans exhibit this disease protection system most overtly, we might not be the only one. Researchers suspect other creatures might have a similar mechanism of defense against diseases. By grouping each potential threat according to different types of disgust, avoiding infection gets easier.
The study was published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
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