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Appetite. 2006 Jan;46(1):75-85. Epub 2005 Nov 18.

"Ugh! That's disgusting!": Identification of the characteristics of foods underlying rejections based on disgust.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia.


Previous research has demonstrated that individuals' beliefs about the disgusting properties of foods play a central role in predicting willingness to eat novel foods of either animal or non-animal origin (Martins & Pliner, in press). The present study aimed to identify what characteristics of foods make individuals perceive them as disgusting. In this study, participants read a set of scenarios designed to depict potentially disgusting foods; participants in Sample 1 rated the perceived disgustingness of the foods while participants in Sample 2 rated the foods on a variety of attributes relevant to theoretical conceptions of disgust. Multidimensional scaling revealed two dimensions, aversive textural properties of the foods and reminders of livingness/animalness, that accounted for most of the variability in ratings of perceived disgustingness of the foods depicted in the scenarios. Implications for our current conceptualization of disgust are examined.

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