Weirdness of disgust sensitivity items predicts their relationship to purity moral judgments

Fieke M.A. Wagemans*, Mark J. Brandt, Marcel Zeelenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Disgust sensitivity predicts judgments of moral issues, especially when they concern transgressions of the purity domain. The reason for this domain-specific relationship is unclear. One potential explanation is that measures of disgust sensitivity and purity transgressions share an important characteristic: They are weird. We test this “weirdness overlap” hypothesis by examining whether weirdness of disgust sensitivity items relates to purity moral judgments (total N = 805). Weirder disgust sensitivity items were more strongly associated with moral judgments of purity, but not care, transgressions, suggesting support for the weirdness overlap hypothesis. However, the implications of this finding are limited as we find that eliminating the weirdest items from disgust sensitivity measures does not affect the tendency for the association between disgust sensitivity and moral judgments to be especially pronounced for purity transgressions. Although weirdness of disgust sensitivity items is associated with the disgust sensitivity-purity link, it cannot explain why disgust sensitivity is more strongly related to moral judgments of purity transgressions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Disgust sensitivity
  • Moral judgments
  • Purity
  • Weirdness

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