Reevaluating Moral Disgust: Sensitivity to Many Affective States Predicts Extremity in Many Evaluative Judgments
disgust sensitivity, emotion, moral judgment, aesthetic judgment, affect as information
Social Psychological and Personality Science
Disgust-sensitive individuals are particularly morally critical. Some theorists take this as evidence that disgust has a uniquely moral form: disgust contributes to moralization even of pathogen-free violations, and disgust’s contribution to moralization is unique from other emotional states. We argue that the relationship between disgust sensitivity (DS) and moral judgment is not special in two respects. First, trait sensitivity to many other affective states, beyond disgust, predicts moral evaluations. Second, DS also predicts nonnormative evaluative judgments. Four studies supported these hypotheses, using multiple measures of DS, and judgments of moral violations (Studies 1 and 4), conventional violations (Study 1), imprudent actions (Study 1), competence (Study 2), and aesthetic evaluations (Study 3). Our findings call into question the usefulness of “moral disgust” as a psychological construct by showing that the relationship between DS and moral condemnation is one instantiation of a more general association between affect and judgment.
Landy, J. F.,
(2017). Reevaluating Moral Disgust: Sensitivity to Many Affective States Predicts Extremity in Many Evaluative Judgments. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10(2), 211-219.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/1771