Disgust sensitivity relates to moral foundations independent of political ideology

Florian Van Leeuwen, Amber Dukes, J.M. Tybur, Justin Park

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Moral judgments seem related to the emotion disgust. Evolutionary considerations might illuminate the psychological processes underlying this relation. Several studies have noted that individuals who are more disgust sensitive condemn moral violations more strongly. However, this association could result from both disgust sensitivity and moral judgment being correlated with political ideology. To clarify the relationship between disgust sensitivity and moral judgment, we analyzed data from multiple published and unpublished datasets that included the Three-Domain Disgust Scale, the Moral Foundations Questionnaire, and a measure of ideology (total N = 2,478). Results showed that associations between disgust sensitivity and moral judgment remained when controlling for ideology. Each of the 3 types of disgust sensitivity uniquely predicted at least 1 of the 5 moral foundations. Moral disgust predicted scores for all moral foundations (largest effect for fairness/reciprocity). Sexual disgust predicted scores for all moral foundations except fairness/reciprocity (largest effect for purity/sanctity). Pathogen disgust had small predictive effects for ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. All effects were positive (i.e., higher levels of disgust sensitivity were associated with greater moral foundation endorsement). These findings suggest specific relations between disgust sensitivity and moral judgment that are not explained by ideology, shedding further light on the functions of disgust and morality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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