Does 'Yuck' mean 'Eek'? Fear responses in children after a disgust manipulation

P.E.H.M. Muris, J. Huijding, B. Mayer, H. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background and objectives: Disgust is a basic emotion that is thought to play a role in the development of animal phobias. This study was conducted to test whether experimentally induced disgust also results in higher levels of fear and interpretation bias.

Methods: Children aged 9-13 years (N = 94) were asked to inspect a set of specimen characteristic of a novel animal and requested to form themselves an impression of it based on those characteristics. Half of the children were given a set of disgust-eliciting products in relation to the animal, whereas the other half received a set of neutral materials.

Results: The main results indicated that children in the disgust specimen group exhibited an increase in fear towards the novel animal and a stronger inclination to interpret ambiguous situations involving this animal in a more negative way as compared to children in the neutral specimen group.

Conclusion: These findings confirm that disgust has a fear-promoting effect. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-769
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Interpretation bias
  • Children
  • ANXIETY DISORDER
  • SENSITIVITY
  • PHOBIAS
  • INFORMATION
  • AVOIDANCE
  • CHILDHOOD
  • ANIMALS
  • SYMPTOMS
  • BELIEFS
  • SPIDERS

Cite this