The Role of Childhood Experiences in the development of Disgust Sensitivity: a preliminary study on early moral memories

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Olga Ines Luppino, Katia Tenore, Francesco Mancini, Alessandra Mancini: The Role of Childhood Experiences in the development of Disgust Sensitivity: a preliminary study on early moral memories. In: Clinical Neuropsychiatry, vol. 20, no 2, pp. 109-121, 2023.

Abstract

bjective: Disgust is a basic emotion evolved to safeguard our omnivorous species from contagion. Although the factors eliciting disgust typically involve concerns related to physical contamination, physical disgust responses are also prompted by moral transgressions, (i.e. cannibalism, pedophilia, betrayal). The link between the general propensity to experience disgust (i.e. “Disgust Sensitivity”) and morality, in particular in the deontological domain, is supported by an increasing amount of data on clinical and non-clinical sample. Evolutionistic explanations of this link posit that disgust evolved to indicate the presence of a threat to the integrity of the individual not only in the physical domain but also in the social and moral domain. In addition to the evolutionary point of view, this link could also be better investigated in terms of individual development. To the best of our knowledge, literature is scarce regarding which early experiences are associated to high DS. Therefore, this study aims to explore the content of early memories associated with disgust. Based on the strict link between disgust and morality, we hypothesized an association between DS and early memories of moral criticism.
Method: 60 non-clinical participants filled in measures of DS. They were then
presented with an auditory disgust induction, after which they recalled early memories
through the technique of the “affect bridge”. 10 independent raters assessed the
emotional content of the memories on visual-analogical scales.
Results: Results showed a positive association between disgust sensitivity and
the propensity to experience deontological guilt. There was also a significant positive
association between disgust sensitivity and moral memories, in particular relating to
early experiences of being the object of contempt, moral criticism, anger, and of being
held responsible.
Conclusions: These data directly support the centrality of early morally-loaded
interpersonal experiences in the development of DS, confirming the link between
disgust and morality also at the level of individual historical developme

BibTeX (Download)

@article{Luppino2023,
title = {The Role of Childhood Experiences in the development of Disgust Sensitivity: a preliminary study on early moral memories},
author = {Olga Ines Luppino and Katia Tenore and Francesco Mancini and Alessandra Mancini},
editor = {Giovanni Fioriti Editore s.r.l. },
url = {https://apc.it/2023-mancini-the-role-of-childhood-experiences/},
doi = {doi.org/10.36131/ cnfioritieditore2023020},
year  = {2023},
date = {2023-04-01},
urldate = {2023-04-01},
journal = {Clinical Neuropsychiatry},
volume = {20},
number = {2},
pages = {109-121},
abstract = {bjective: Disgust is a basic emotion evolved to safeguard our omnivorous species from contagion. Although the factors eliciting disgust typically involve concerns related to physical contamination, physical disgust responses are also prompted by moral transgressions, (i.e. cannibalism, pedophilia, betrayal). The link between the general propensity to experience disgust (i.e. “Disgust Sensitivity”) and morality, in particular in the deontological domain, is supported by an increasing amount of data on clinical and non-clinical sample. Evolutionistic explanations of this link posit that disgust evolved to indicate the presence of a threat to the integrity of the individual not only in the physical domain but also in the social and moral domain. In addition to the evolutionary point of view, this link could also be better investigated in terms of individual development. To the best of our knowledge, literature is scarce regarding which early experiences are associated to high DS. Therefore, this study aims to explore the content of early memories associated with disgust. Based on the strict link between disgust and morality, we hypothesized an association between DS and early memories of moral criticism.
Method: 60 non-clinical participants filled in measures of DS. They were then
presented with an auditory disgust induction, after which they recalled early memories
through the technique of the “affect bridge”. 10 independent raters assessed the
emotional content of the memories on visual-analogical scales.
Results: Results showed a positive association between disgust sensitivity and
the propensity to experience deontological guilt. There was also a significant positive
association between disgust sensitivity and moral memories, in particular relating to
early experiences of being the object of contempt, moral criticism, anger, and of being
held responsible.
Conclusions: These data directly support the centrality of early morally-loaded
interpersonal experiences in the development of DS, confirming the link between
disgust and morality also at the level of individual historical developme},
keywords = {Deontological guilt, Disgust, early autobiographical memories, Early maladaptive schemas, imagery, Morality},
pubstate = {published},
tppubtype = {article}
}
//

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