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The Hedonics of Disgust.

dc.contributor.authorStrohminger, Nina S.en_US
dc.description.abstractDisgust is a negative emotion, and as such, it is frequently assumed that its only function is to generate negative evaluations. This dissertation aims to demonstrate that disgust can generate positive evaluations in the right context. In Chapter I, we show how the existence of hedonic disgust would be both empirically novel and counter to predictions made by many current theories of emotion. We suggest that the impact of disgust depends on context, consistent with feelings-as- information theory (Schwarz, 2012). To this end, we lay out potential circumstances under which disgust may be experienced as enjoyable. In Chapter II, we show that priming disgust with verbal stimuli leads people to rate both cartoons and moral violations as funnier, and food pictures as less appetizing. We also find that sad verbal stimuli enhance cartoon ratings, helping to rule out arousal level as the sole explanation for these effects. In Chapter III, we show that disgusting verbal stimuli enhance enjoyment of abstract and grotesque art, but not landscape art. We further demonstrate that the effect of these disgust primes changes depending on the probe, with disgust increasing both the likability and offensiveness of judged paintings, while leading to lower ratings of prettiness. In Chapter IV, we use two additional methods of inducing disgust—a noxious odor, and a filthy environment—to see whether this would enhance enjoyment of stand-up comedy and adventurous eating shows. We find that both of these disgust manipulations decrease enjoyment of traditional cooking shows, and increase enjoyment of adventurous eating shows. The experimental condition had no impact on humor judg- ments, counter to both feelings-as-information theory and congruency-based emotion theories. In Chapter V, we discuss the scope and limitations of the current studies. While these studies demonstrate that disgust stimuli can have a positive effect on judgments, this effect is contingent on a variety of factors which are not yet fully understood. Furthermore, the precise mechanism by which incidental disgust leads to enjoyment remains unclear. Overall, this work shows that the influence of disgust is highly context-sensitive, and occasionally favorable, opening up a previously unexplored avenue for emotions research.en_US
dc.subjectBenign Masochismen_US
dc.subjectJudgment and Decision-makingen_US
dc.titleThe Hedonics of Disgust.en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantorUniversity of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studiesen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLewis, Richard L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSchwarz, Norbert W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRailton, Peter A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberEllsworth, Phoebe C.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMeyer, David E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNesse, Randolph M.en_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevelSocial Sciencesen_US
dc.owningcollnameDissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)

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