That's disgusting! : conceptual reorientation tested through eye-tracking data
May 7, 2019
Department or Program
Our study investigated the effectiveness of conceptual reorientation in reducing disgust by measuring dwell time using eye-tracking technology and participant’s self-reports of disgust. Previous research has shown that disgust is resistant to corrective information (Rozin et al., 1986), perhaps because it is elicited by the concrete sensory properties of a stimulus, rather than its abstract meaning (Royzman et al., 2013). Our study measures willingness to pick up disgusting objects, but not willingness to orally incorporate them. Conceptual reorientation is modeled by having participants view images of poop and a rock, learn that the images taken are of fake poop and a rock, be allowed to hold the fake stimulus objects, and then view the stimulus images again. The current study finds that conceptual reorientation of disgusting objects has significant diminishing effects on both self-reported disgust and dwell time of those objects. The current study demonstrates that disgust can be attenuated by corrective information and is partially determined by the meaning of a stimulus, at least with low risk contact. These results suggest that conceptual reorientation may be an effective tool in reducing disgust in anxiety disorders.