Faculty Articles

Title

Folk beliefs about the relationships anger and disgust have with moral disapproval

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-15-2019

Keywords

Anger, disgust, moral judgment, emotions, expressions

Publication Title

Cognition and Emotion

ISSN

1464-0600

Abstract

Theories that view emotions as being related in some way to moral judgments suggest that condemning moral emotions should, at a minimum, be understood by laypeople to coincide with judgments of moral disapproval. Seven studies (total N = 826) tested the extent to which anger and disgust align with this criterion. We observed that while anger is understood to be strongly related to moral disapproval of people’s actions and character, disgust is not (Studies 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, and 3), and that, in contexts where disgust expressions are thought to coincide somewhat with moral disapproval, part of the reason is that the expression is perceived as anger (Study 4). Expressions of sadness are also construed as communicating anger in such contexts (Study 5). We discuss our findings in terms of rethinking how we should consider disgust as a moral emotion.

DOI

10.1080/02699931.2019.1605977

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