Just an anger synonym? Moral context influences predictors of disgust word use

Roberto Gutierrez, Roger Giner-Sorolla, Milica Vasiljevic

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34 Citations (Scopus)
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Are verbal reports of disgust in moral situations specific indicators of the concept of disgust, or are they used metaphorically to refer to anger? In this experiment, participants read scenarios describing a violation of a norm either about the use of the body (bodily moral) or about harm and rights (socio-moral). They then expressed disgust and anger on verbal scales, and through facial expression endorsement measures. The use of disgust words in the socio-moral condition was largely predicted by anger words and only secondarily by disgust faces, whereas in the bodily moral condition the use of disgust words was predicted to a similar extent by disgust faces and anger words. Angry faces, however, never predicted disgust words independently of anger words. These results support a middle-ground position in which disgust words concerning socio-moral violations are not entirely a metaphor for anger, but bear some relationship to other representations of disgust. In the case of socio-moral violations, however, the use of disgust language is more strongly related to anger language, and less strongly to facial representations of disgust than in the case of bodily moral violations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Emotions
  • Facial Expression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morals
  • Semantics


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