Science: why do we disgust things?

Have you ever stopped to think why some things make us feel disgusted? Rachael Herz, an American psychologist, wrote a book to better understand how disgust works. According to the website New Scientist, the author of the work That’s Disgusting (“This is disgusting”, in Portuguese) states that disgust is related to brain conditioning.

To exemplify, the writer tells how a traditional dish of Icelandic cuisine is made, which can be extremely disgusting for other cultures. First, they fish for a Greenland shark, whose meat is naturally toxic. Then they bury the carcass for putrefaction – a state of decomposition of dead bodies – and then the shark undergoes several freezing and thawing sessions. The meat then becomes dry and smells of a substance called ammonia, similar to cleaning products.

If your stomach got sick just reading this, here’s the warning: Icelanders say the food is one of the most delicious in the country. Therefore, the fact that we find this meat strange and consumers in Iceland consider it a delight is proof, according to the psychologist, that disgust is linked to previous concepts.

In the book, Rachel also states that disgust is not always related to our five basic senses, as there is also a kind of “moral indignation”. Another example is a Jew refusing a towel that Adolf Hitler used in the past.

The publication is not yet available in Brazil, but can be purchased in English by clicking on here.

Behavior Cheers Curiosities Science

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