(170 kB) SJ Unger, BC Jones, M Kandrik & LM DeBruine (2014). Regional differences in disgust. European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association in Bristol, UK. April 2014.

Abstract: Recent research links frequency of illness with disgust sensitivity at the individual level. This may lead to links between regional variation in health and disgust sensitivity. Here, we test the existence and specificity of this relationship using data from the three domain disgust scale completed by more than 10,000 American men and women from 50 US states. Scores for each domain of disgust (pathogen, moral and sexual) were analysed using Hierarchical Linear Modelling, with participant age, participant sex, and scores on the other two domains of disgust entered as predictors at the individual level and the overall health variable from the 2013 America's Health Rankings as a predictor at the state level. State health significantly predicted pathogen disgust, but not moral or sexual disgust. Individuals in states with poorer health had higher pathogen disgust than individuals in states with better health. This research confirms a link between health factors and disgust sensitivity and provides new data on the domain-specificity of the link between health and disgust.

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