Disgust and pre-wired modularity

From: Damien Broderick (thespike@satx.rr.com)
Date: Tue Nov 23 2004 - 18:59:49 MST

>Dunno about feces, but everyone knows how the
>smell of vomit induces nausea

I wonder if these kinds of assertions are made so readily on a
theory-driven list like this because few posters actually have kids.
Mothers and other care-givers often dislike the stink of baby puke, but it
usually doesn't induce sympathetic vomiting. And babies themselves don't
seem to mind it at all, which was my original point.

>I have had certain experiences while working
>among mentally impaired persons which suggest to
>me that the revulsion to eating feces can break
>down, although it is so culturally universal that
>it may well be hardwired.

The matter is more subtle than that; it's more likely to be hard-wired as a
proclivity to be wired. Cf.

"Children do not have an aversion to feces prior to toilet training: P.
Rozin, L. Hammer, HOster, T.
Horowitz, and V. Marmara, "The child's conception of food: differentiation
of categories of rejected substances in the 1.4 to 5 year age range,"
Appetite 7 (1986): 141-151. Feces does not have contaminating properties
even after toilet training: A. Fallon, P.Rozin, and P. Pliner, "The child's
conception of food: The development of food rejections with special
reference to disgust and contamination sensitivity," Child Development55
(1984): 566-575. Rejection of decay odors: H. Schmidt and G. Beauchamp,
"Adult-like odor preferences and aversions in three-year-old children,"
Child Development 59(1988):

in www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ ips/ppr/2003/00000066/00000002/art00001

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:50 MDT