Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology

First Advisor

Danielle J. Maack

Second Advisor

Alan M. Gross


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Results indicate a significant self-reported disgust response among core animal reminder and contamination domains whereas the moral domains elicited both anger and disgust. Physiologically no change was measured in skin conductance; heart rate decrease in response to animal reminder contamination community and autonomy video clips. Significant behavioral avoidance was demonstrated when presented with the core and animal reminder video clips. Further when measuring facial muscle activation the levator labii was significantly activated in response to the core video clip but no others. The current study highlights the difficulty in establishing characteristic responses to disgust stimuli especially within the moral domain. However it is evident that the moral domain video clips do elicit a mixed emotional response primarily anger and disgust. This finding further establishes the complexity of the domain and supports future research focusing on the incorporation of additional physiological measures as well as parsing out additional emotional responses. The emotion disgust consists of four domains: core animal reminder contamination and moral. Moral disgust is a relatively new concept and characterized by moral violations of community autonomy and divinity. The CAD triad hypothesis proposes that the moral emotions of contempt anger and disgust correspond with the aforementioned violations respectively. Disgust like all emotions is comprised of three components: cognitive physiological and behavioral. The current study examined individuals’ cognitive (self-report) physiological (skin conductance; heart rate) and behavioral (avoidance; facial muscle activation) responses when exposed to disgust eliciting videos specifically to explicate the moral domain. Participants were 108 undergraduate students (62% female) who participated in exchange for research or course credit. The sample consisted of 70.4% Caucasian 13.9% African-American 13% Asian 2.8% Hispanic and 2% multiracial individuals. Ages ranged from 18-26 years (M = 19.04; SD = 1.33). Individuals presented to the lab completed self-report measures and engaged in a behavioral task that entailed watching six 2:00 minute disgust eliciting video clips. Each video clip was associated with a specific domain of disgust including core animal reminder contamination moral - community moral - autonomy and moral - divinity.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.