Exploring disgust-related tactile processes

Which are more disgusting to touch – dry powders or slimy gels? A team of investigators from the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami set up a series of experiments to find out – bearing in mind that, until now, touch-related disgust responses have been largely overlooked in the scholarly literature. Participants touched substances of varying moistures, temperatures, and consistencies – rating them for disgustingness.

“Results show that participants rated wet stimuli and stimuli resembling biological consistencies as more disgusting than dry stimuli and stimuli resembling inanimate consistencies, respectively.”

Readers who are wondering exactly which substances were used as potentially disgusting tactile materials may continue to wonder, as sadly, Improbable has had no response to our e-mails requesting details.
A feel for disgust: Tactile cues to pathogen presence is published in Cognition & Emotion, Volume 25, Issue 4, 2011.

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