Food-related contextual factors substantially modify the disgust response

Simpson, J. and Anthony, S.H. and Schmeer, S. and Overton, P.G. (2007) Food-related contextual factors substantially modify the disgust response. Food Quality and Preference, 18 (2). pp. 183-189. ISSN 0950-3293

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Faeces-shaped chocolate fudge has been shown to evoke a significant disgust reaction. However, methodological issues inherent in the original study have impeded our understanding of this striking phenomenon. In the present experiment, photographs of objects from one of four categories—edible (e.g., chocolate), inedible (e.g., jumper), disgusting (e.g., faeces) and mixed (e.g., chocolate shaped as faeces)—were presented to 105 participants. Ratings were collected of (1) general disgust elicited by the objects and (2) the level of disgust elicited by considering the objects as potential food items. Disgust ratings across the four categories were higher on the food scale than on the general scale. ‘Inedible’ items were rated much more highly than the ‘mixed items’, confirming that an alternative explanation for the disgust reaction to faeces-shaped chocolate can be framed in terms of the unexpectedness of the item as a potential foodstuff, which leads to a neophobic response.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Food Quality and Preference
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? food sciencenutrition and dietetics ??
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Deposited On:
13 Jun 2024 14:30
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 01:18