Why being grossed out by poo is good for you!January 4th, 2011 - 12:59 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Jan 4 (ANI): Imagine seeing maggots. Or worms, or even poo. Disgusted? Probably, but a new study believes that it is good for you to get grossed out by such things.
Just as fear protects us from a lion that would eat us, “disgust is quite similar. It keeps us away from tiny little animals that would eat us up from the inside,” Discovery News quoted Valerie Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as saying.
“We evolved to stay away from poo, from bodily fluids, from mucous, from foods that have gone off, from worms in the garden,” she added.
Although disgust may have evolved as an emotion to keep us away from disease causing germs, too much of anything can be bad.
Types of obsessive-compulsive disorders are thought to result from disgust sensitivity taken to the extreme, Curtis said, such as obsessive hand washing or boiling tea water multiple times before drinking.
More controversial is the theory of moral disgust and physical disgust.
“If I go around leaving poo in your front lawn or spitting in your cups or making nasty smells in public transport or if I go to church in my pajamas, I’m threatening you with my bodily fluids,” Curtis said.
“These are manners, but they’re also the precursor of moral behaviour. Your sense of disgust for people’s bad behaviour is tied together with your organic system,” she said.
Said David Pizarro of Cornell University, who researches moral judgment, said, “Even though I do think that the evolutionary approach is the right one to explain the origins of disgust and how it works in life now, I wonder if it can be applied too broadly.”
“It seems unclear to me that you need an evolutionary approach to explain some of the behaviours [discussed]. For instance, avoiding large groups when you know that there’s an outbreak of influenza. It seems people would just sort of notice. I don’t know that it has to recruit a special system. There are a lot of things like manners that may or may not have anything to do with the avoidance of disease and seem sort of arbitrary.”
The study is published today in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. (ANI)
- Worms 'effective in the fight against irritable bowel disease, allergies' - Nov 13, 2010
- If slime disgusts you then you are a conservative - Jun 05, 2009
- US Airways: Maggots on a Plane! Real Life, Not A Horror Flick - Jul 02, 2010
- Taiwan's dog poo prize lottery is a big success - Dec 09, 2011
- Squeamish people more likely to show a conservative attitude to gays, lesbians - Jun 05, 2009
- Bored with jobs, women find solace in eating - Mar 14, 2012
- Tale of two Bollywood sisters: Sonam and Rhea - Jul 30, 2010
- Bizarre addictions you may not have heard before - Dec 26, 2010
- Ayesha Takia, Siddharth Mallya at loggerheads - Feb 07, 2012
- Lowly marine worms distantly related to humans - Feb 10, 2011
- Cyber arms race could change the world around us (Comment) - Jun 27, 2012
- Why we should all be walking backwards for our health (The Funny Side - IANS has introduced a weekly column by Hong Kong-based humour writer Nury Vittachi) - Jun 08, 2012
- Internet-obsessed Aussies at 'infostress' risk - Mar 24, 2010
- Variety 'may be the catalyst behind sexual evolution' - Oct 14, 2010
- Eating quickly leads to obesity - Nov 23, 2011
Tags: bad behaviour, behaviours, bodily fluids, cornell university, david pizarro, discovery news, disgust, evolutionary approach, germs, large groups, london school of hygiene, london school of hygiene and tropical medicine, maggots, moral behaviour, moral judgment, multiple times, obsessive compulsive disorders, tea water, types of obsessive compulsive disorders, valerie curtis