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PLoS One. 2015 May 26;10(5):e0128531. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128531. eCollection 2015.

Different timing features in brain processing of core and moral disgust pictures: an event-related potentials study.

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Key Laboratory for Cognition and Human Behavior of Hunan Province, Department of Psychology, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China.
School of Psychology, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China.
School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China.
School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


Disgust, an emotion motivating withdrawal from offensive stimuli, protects us from the risk of biological pathogens and sociomoral violations. Homogeneity of its two types, namely, core and moral disgust has been under intensive debate. To examine the dynamic relationship between them, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) for core disgust, moral disgust and neutral pictures while participants performed a modified oddball task. ERP analysis revealed that N1 and P2 amplitudes were largest for the core disgust pictures, indicating automatic processing of the core disgust-evoking pictures. N2 amplitudes were higher for pictures evoking moral disgust relative to core disgust and neutral pictures, reflecting a violation of social norms. The core disgust pictures elicited larger P3 and late positive potential (LPP) amplitudes in comparison with the moral disgust pictures which, in turn, elicited larger P3 and LPP amplitudes when compared to the neutral pictures. Taken together, these findings indicated that core and moral disgust pictures elicited different neural activities at various stages of information processing, which provided supporting evidence for the heterogeneity of disgust.

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