Originally posted on TED Blog:
A plate of food overrun by roaches. A blood-encrusted scab. The squish of dog poo under one’s shoe. In this talk from TEDxEast, David Pizarro explains that each of these images elicits disgust, a visceral emotion that serves a good purpose — to keep us away from harmful substances. But disgust may in fact do much more than that.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that this emotion of disgust influences our moral beliefs and even our deeply held political intuitions,” says Pizarro, a professor of psychology at Cornell University. “It works through association. When one disgusting thing touches a clean thing, that clean thing becomes disgusting — not the other way around. This becomes a very useful as a strategy if you want to convince someone that an object, or an individual or an entire social group ought to be avoided.” As Pizarro points out, Nazi propaganda described Jews…
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