Survival’s Ick Factor

James Gorman in The New York Times:

DisgustDisgust is the Cinderella of emotions. While fear, sadness and anger, its nasty, flashy sisters, have drawn the rapt attention of psychologists, poor disgust has been hidden away in a corner, left to muck around in the ashes. No longer. Disgust is having its moment in the light as researchers find that it does more than cause that sick feeling in the stomach. It protects human beings from disease and parasites, and affects almost every aspect of human relations, from romance to politics. In several new books and a steady stream of research papers, scientists are exploring the evolution of disgust and its role in attitudes toward food, sexuality and other people.

Picture: REVOLTING In India, the power of disgust to improve villagers' hygiene is being tested. Center of Gravity, a Bangalore agency working with Valerie Curtis, a disgust researcher, created skits including this role, Laddu Lingam; he makes treats of mud and worms and never washes his hands. Another character, Supermom, shows the proper behavior.

More here.