Considering uncontaminated food as an early-emerging and previously ignored disgust elicitor

Emotion. 2021 Oct;21(7):1522-1536. doi: 10.1037/emo0001042. Epub 2021 Nov 15.


The present studies examine developmental changes in the elicitors of disgust by examining adults' and children's ideas of what is disgusting. In three experiments, we asked adults and children between the ages of 3 and 12 to report what is "disgusting," what is "gross," or what might have caused someone to make a disgust face. In Study 1, parents of 3- to 12-year-old children (n = 120) were asked what they thought was disgusting and what they thought their children would find disgusting and completed a picky eating questionnaire to examine the extent to which children's eating habits may be related to disgust. In Studies 2 and 3 (n = 98 per study), children were asked what they thought was disgusting. In Study 3, children's parents also completed a questionnaire about their child's food pickiness. Typically eaten foods that were not contaminated or spoiled were frequently mentioned in all studies, both by children and their parents. There was considerable diversity in the disgust elicitors that were mentioned across participants, highlighting the importance of examining individual differences in the development of disgust. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disgust*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Parents