Disgust as Embodied Moral Judgment
Simone Schnall et al; 2008
How, and for whom, does disgust influence moral judgment? In 4 experiments participants made moral judgments while experiencing extraneous feelings of disgust. Disgust was induced in Experiment 1 by exposure to a bad smell, in Experiment 2 by working in a disgusting room, in Experiment 3 by recalling a physically disgusting experience, and in Experiment 4 through a video induction. In each case, the results showed that disgust can increase the severity of moral judgments relative to controls. Experiment 4 found that disgust had a different effect on moral judgment than did sadness. In addition, Experiments 2-4 showed that the role of disgust in severity of moral judgments depends on participants’ sensitivity to their own bodily sensations. Taken together, these data indicate the importance - and specificity - of gut feelings in moral judgments.