An Idea for a Study on Disgust in Regards to Cognition

Establish two groups, a control group and an experimental group.

Show both groups a series of pictures, both disgusting and not disgusting, and ask the individuals how disgusting they found each picture, to get a baseline (100 pictures, 50 more disgusting and 50 less/not disgusting sounds like a good set – experimenters would be expected to eyeball the pictures for pre-baseline categorization, and reevaluate them after the baseline based on the mean disgust level).

Then, ask the persons in the control group to answer detailed questions about the pictures which were found less or not disgusting (providing them copies of the pictures for analysis), and meanwhile ask the persons in the experimental group to answer similar questions about the pictures that were found more disgusting.

Let’s say, 10 pictures with 3 questions regarding each, the pictures being selected randomly per individual.

Afterwards, show both groups a second set of pictures and ask the individuals how disgusting they found each picture.

I suspect the experimental group will show a decrease in degree of disgust relative to the control group versus the baseline measurements, despite the set of pictures being different.

More in-depth examination along this line would involve more engaging analysis of items found disgusting, and successively more distinct pictures in the second set, particularly in terms of content (i.e. if there are spiders in the first set, the second set should not have spiders).

The objective of this is to see if repeated use of articulation capability in regards to disgust reactions can instill a general shift in individual disgust response from purely emotional, to a more reasoned, articulated response.

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