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Chemosensors 2018, 6(1), 9;

Exploring the Emotion of Disgust: Differences in Smelling and Feeling

Centre for Comparative & Evolutionary Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 2DY, UK
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, TU Dresden, Dresden 01307, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic nose’s, Machine Olfaction and Electronic Tongue’s)
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Disgust evolved to motivate humans away from disease cues and may heighten discernment of these cues. Disease cues are often best perceived through our sense of smell, however very few studies have examined how eliciting disgust influences smell intensity or valence. In two novel experiments we investigated how domains of disgust induction influence odor perception. In experiment 1 participants (n = 90) were randomly allocated to one of two kinds of Disgust Induction (DI): Pathogen (DI-P), Moral (DI-M) or a Control (DI-C), followed by an evaluation of three affectively distinct odors (disgust-related, neutral, liked). Using a modified procedure in experiment 2, participants (n = 70) were again randomly assigned to one of the three disgust induction conditions, but here they evaluated one (disgust-related) odor during disgust induction. In experiment 2 we also measured feelings of disgust and anger. In experiment 1, surprisingly, we found overall ratings of odor disgust were lower in the DI-P compared to other groups, whereas in experiment 2, odor disgust was higher in the DI-P versus the DI-M/DI-C conditions, which also differed from each other. We also found that whereas feelings of disgust were higher in DI-P, in contrast, anger was higher for those individuals in the DI-M condition. These findings suggest that compared to a Control condition, inducing state Pathogen and Moral disgust lead to higher perceived odor disgust, whereas feelings of disgust/anger yield divergent effects. The work here also demonstrates that methodologies utilizing odor perception (disgust) can be a useful addition to measuring changes in state disgust. View Full-Text
Keywords: disgust; emotions; evolutionary psychology; odor disgust; emotions; evolutionary psychology; odor

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Stafford, L.D.; Fleischman, D.S.; Le Her, N.; Hummel, T. Exploring the Emotion of Disgust: Differences in Smelling and Feeling. Chemosensors 2018, 6, 9.

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