The CAD triad hypothesis: a mapping between three moral emotions (contempt, anger, disgust) and three moral codes (community, autonomy, divinity)

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Apr;76(4):574-86. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.76.4.574.


It is proposed that 3 emotions--contempt, anger, and disgust--are typically elicited, across cultures, by violations of 3 moral codes proposed by R. A. Shweder and his colleagues (R. A. Shweder, N. C. Much, M. Mahapatra, & L. Park, 1997). The proposed alignment links anger to autonomy (individual rights violations), contempt to community (violation of communal codes including hierarchy), and disgust to divinity (violations of purity-sanctity). This is the CAD triad hypothesis. Students in the United States and Japan were presented with descriptions of situations that involve 1 of the types of moral violations and asked to assign either an appropriate facial expression (from a set of 6) or an appropriate word (contempt, anger, disgust, or their translations). Results generally supported the CAD triad hypothesis. Results were further confirmed by analysis of facial expressions actually made by Americans to the descriptions of these situations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Culture
  • Emotions*
  • Facial Expression
  • Freedom
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Morals*
  • United States
  • Vocabulary