The Ick Factor of Moral Revulsion
Moral Disgust Carries Foul Flavour, Researchers Say
By Misty Harris in The Montreal Gazette
Moral revulsion literally leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, a new study suggests.
Researchers have found that some people of Christian faith were more likely to describe a lemon-water drink as disgusting after being exposed to text from Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion — which argues that religious belief is dangerous and irrational — as compared to when they tasted a (secretly) identical drink beforehand.
A control group presented with morally neutral text didn't experience the same negative effect.
"Just as we're disgusted by the rotten meat or spoiled milk that can contaminate our physical body, this research suggests that people have gut-level disgust reactions against religious beliefs that are perceived to contaminate their mind," says study co-author Ryan Ritter, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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