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Disgust sensitivity and the neurophysiology of left-right political orientations.

Smith KB, Oxley D, Hibbing MV, Alford JR, Hibbing JR - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Given its primal nature and essential value in avoiding pathogens disgust likely has an effect even without registering in conscious beliefs.In this article, we demonstrate that individuals with marked involuntary physiological responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images.This relationship holds even when controlling for the degree to which respondents believe themselves to be disgust sensitive and suggests that people's physiological predispositions help to shape their political orientations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States of America. ksmith1@unl.edu

ABSTRACT
Disgust has been described as the most primitive and central of emotions. Thus, it is not surprising that it shapes behaviors in a variety of organisms and in a variety of contexts--including homo sapien politics. People who believe they would be bothered by a range of hypothetical disgusting situations display an increased likelihood of displaying right-of-center rather than left-of-center political orientations. Given its primal nature and essential value in avoiding pathogens disgust likely has an effect even without registering in conscious beliefs. In this article, we demonstrate that individuals with marked involuntary physiological responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images. This relationship holds even when controlling for the degree to which respondents believe themselves to be disgust sensitive and suggests that people's physiological predispositions help to shape their political orientations.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Trends in Skin Conductance and Heart Rate during Exposure to Disgusting Stimuli.The lines represent second by second readings (smoothed into three-second moving averages) of skin conductance levels or SCL (top line) and heart rate or HR (bottom line) during disgust image exposure as a proportion of these same physiological readings during the preceding inter-stimulus interval (ISI). For ease of interpretation, baselines have been standardized to equal 0. Positive numbers indicate an increase in the physiological response during viewing of the disgusting image relative to that existing during viewing of the ISI; negative numbers indicate a decrease.
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pone-0025552-g002: Trends in Skin Conductance and Heart Rate during Exposure to Disgusting Stimuli.The lines represent second by second readings (smoothed into three-second moving averages) of skin conductance levels or SCL (top line) and heart rate or HR (bottom line) during disgust image exposure as a proportion of these same physiological readings during the preceding inter-stimulus interval (ISI). For ease of interpretation, baselines have been standardized to equal 0. Positive numbers indicate an increase in the physiological response during viewing of the disgusting image relative to that existing during viewing of the ISI; negative numbers indicate a decrease.

Mentions: Before correlating political orientations with skin conductance changes elicited by disgusting stimuli, we first present an overview of the mean physiological trends for all respondents across the first 10 seconds of the showing of the three disgusting images. Even though our interest is in changes in skin conductance, to provide a point of comparison we also include the pattern for heart rate (beats per minute). The lines in Figure 2 represent second by second readings (smoothed into three-second moving averages) of skin conductance levels or SCL (top line) and heart rate or HR (bottom line) during disgust image exposure as a proportion of these same physiological readings during the preceding ISI. For ease of interpretation, baselines have been standardized to equal 0. Positive numbers indicate an increase in the physiological response during viewing of the disgusting image relative to that existing during viewing of the ISI; negative numbers indicate a decrease. Because the units of the two variables in the figure (microsiemens and beats per minute, respectively) are so different, the range of each measure has been standardized to run from 0 to 1. This standardization means the magnitude of movement should not be compared from one measure to the other, even as the figure does provide useful information on the direction, timing, and contours of each measure's movement.


Disgust sensitivity and the neurophysiology of left-right political orientations.

Smith KB, Oxley D, Hibbing MV, Alford JR, Hibbing JR - PLoS ONE (2011)

Trends in Skin Conductance and Heart Rate during Exposure to Disgusting Stimuli.The lines represent second by second readings (smoothed into three-second moving averages) of skin conductance levels or SCL (top line) and heart rate or HR (bottom line) during disgust image exposure as a proportion of these same physiological readings during the preceding inter-stimulus interval (ISI). For ease of interpretation, baselines have been standardized to equal 0. Positive numbers indicate an increase in the physiological response during viewing of the disgusting image relative to that existing during viewing of the ISI; negative numbers indicate a decrease.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198440&req=5

pone-0025552-g002: Trends in Skin Conductance and Heart Rate during Exposure to Disgusting Stimuli.The lines represent second by second readings (smoothed into three-second moving averages) of skin conductance levels or SCL (top line) and heart rate or HR (bottom line) during disgust image exposure as a proportion of these same physiological readings during the preceding inter-stimulus interval (ISI). For ease of interpretation, baselines have been standardized to equal 0. Positive numbers indicate an increase in the physiological response during viewing of the disgusting image relative to that existing during viewing of the ISI; negative numbers indicate a decrease.
Mentions: Before correlating political orientations with skin conductance changes elicited by disgusting stimuli, we first present an overview of the mean physiological trends for all respondents across the first 10 seconds of the showing of the three disgusting images. Even though our interest is in changes in skin conductance, to provide a point of comparison we also include the pattern for heart rate (beats per minute). The lines in Figure 2 represent second by second readings (smoothed into three-second moving averages) of skin conductance levels or SCL (top line) and heart rate or HR (bottom line) during disgust image exposure as a proportion of these same physiological readings during the preceding ISI. For ease of interpretation, baselines have been standardized to equal 0. Positive numbers indicate an increase in the physiological response during viewing of the disgusting image relative to that existing during viewing of the ISI; negative numbers indicate a decrease. Because the units of the two variables in the figure (microsiemens and beats per minute, respectively) are so different, the range of each measure has been standardized to run from 0 to 1. This standardization means the magnitude of movement should not be compared from one measure to the other, even as the figure does provide useful information on the direction, timing, and contours of each measure's movement.

Bottom Line: Given its primal nature and essential value in avoiding pathogens disgust likely has an effect even without registering in conscious beliefs.In this article, we demonstrate that individuals with marked involuntary physiological responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images.This relationship holds even when controlling for the degree to which respondents believe themselves to be disgust sensitive and suggests that people's physiological predispositions help to shape their political orientations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States of America. ksmith1@unl.edu

ABSTRACT
Disgust has been described as the most primitive and central of emotions. Thus, it is not surprising that it shapes behaviors in a variety of organisms and in a variety of contexts--including homo sapien politics. People who believe they would be bothered by a range of hypothetical disgusting situations display an increased likelihood of displaying right-of-center rather than left-of-center political orientations. Given its primal nature and essential value in avoiding pathogens disgust likely has an effect even without registering in conscious beliefs. In this article, we demonstrate that individuals with marked involuntary physiological responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images. This relationship holds even when controlling for the degree to which respondents believe themselves to be disgust sensitive and suggests that people's physiological predispositions help to shape their political orientations.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus