New paper: “Visually activating pathogen disgust: a new instrument for studying the behavioral immune system”

The emotion of disgust plays a key role in the behavioral immune system, a set of disease-avoidance processes constituting a frontline defense against pathogenic threats. In the context of growing research interest in disgust, as well as recognition of its role in several psychiatric disorders, there is need for an improved understanding of behavioral triggers of disgust and for adequate techniques to both induce disgust in experimental settings and to measure individual variability in disgust sensitivity. We generated a novel visual stimulus set of 20 images depicting scenes of highly salient pathogen risk, along with paired control images that are visually comparable but lack the disgust trigger. Our analysis suggest that the novel image set is a useful and effective tool for use in future research, both in terms of priming disgust and for measuring individual differences in disgust sensitivity.

Authors: Paxton D. Culpepper, Jan Havlíček, Juan David Leongómez and S. Craig Roberts.