Faculty Articles

Disgusting Democrats and Repulsive Republicans: Members of Political Outgroups Are Considered Physically Gross.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-29-2021

Publication Title

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

ISSN or ISBN

1552-7433

Volume

49

Issue/Number

3

First Page

361

ISSN

1552-7433

Last Page

375

Abstract/Excerpt

The status of disgust as a sociomoral emotion is debated. We conducted a stringent test of whether social stimuli (specifically, political outgroup members) can elicit physical disgust, as distinct from moral or metaphorical disgust. We employed stimuli (male faces) matched on baseline disgustingness, provided other ways for participants to express negativity toward outgroup members, and used concrete self-report measures of disgust, as well as a nonverbal measure (participants’ facial expressions). Across three preregistered studies (total N = 915), we found that political outgroup members are judged to be “disgusting,” although this effect is generally weaker for concrete self-report measures and absent for the nonverbal measure. This suggests that social stimuli are capable of eliciting genuine physical disgust, although it is not always outwardly expressed, and the strength of this result depends on the measures employed. We discuss implications of these results for research on sociomoral emotions and American politics.

DOI

10.1177/01461672211065923

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4082-9505

Comments

© 2021 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

PubMed ID

34964418

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