Varieties of disgust faces and the structure of disgust

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994 May;66(5):870-81. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.66.5.870.


In 3 facial expression identification studies, college students matched a variety of disgust faces to verbally described eliciting situations. The faces depicted specific muscle action movements in accordance with P. Ekman and W. V. Friesen's (1978) Facial Action Coding System. The nose wrinkle is associated with either irritating or offensive smells and, to some extent, bad tastes. Gape and tongue extrusion are associated primarily with what we call core or food-offense disgust and also oral irritation. The broader range of disgust elicitors, including stimuli that remind humans of their animal origins (e.g., body boundary violations, inappropriate sex, poor hygiene, and death), a variety of aversive interpersonal contacts, and certain moral offenses are associated primarily with the raised upper lip. The results support a theory of disgust that posits its origin as a response to bad tastes and maps its evolution onto a moral emotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Social Perception