Disgust is another basic emotion that has adaptive significance. When con- fronted with an offensive stimulus such as a foul odor, spoiled food, feces, rotting flesh, or the sight of mutilation, people react with an aversion that shows in the way they wrinkle the nose, raise the upper lip, and gape. This visceral reaction is often accompanied by nausea; in the case of bad food, this can facilitate gagging and vomiting.
In nature, food poisoning is a real threat, so it is adaptive for us to recog- nize disgust in the face of others. To illustrate, Bruno Wicker and others had 14 men watch video clips of people smelling pleasant, disgusting, or neutral odors. Afterward, these same men were exposed to the odors themselves.
Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
If you’ve ever inhaled the sweet, floury aroma of a bakery or inserted your nose into a carton of soured milk, you’ll appreciate the different reactions that would appear on your face. Using fMRI, researchers monitored activity in the participants’ brains throughout the experiment. They found that a structure in the brain known as the insula was activated not only when participants sniffed the disgusting odor but also when they watched others sniffing it. This result suggests that people more than recognize the face of disgust; they experience it at a neural level.