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Disgust

Ever since my round of debates with the “logical vegan” community, mainly a YouTuber named Ask Yourself, aka Isaac, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of morality. One aspect I find particularly interesting as of late is the relationship between disgust and morality.

Some of you I’m sure will already be familiar with the work of Jonathan Haidt.  While several papers have been written casting doubt on the links between morality and disgust, often arguing that this is a false equivalence, that moral disgust is a categorically different type of disgust than the physiological response you may feel when you see and smell something like vomit, a new recent paper adds fascinating insight to the debate.

Published this year and titled The physiological basis of psychological disgust and moral judgments and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that ginger, which can be used to reduce the nauseous reaction you may feel towards bodily fluids, can have the same mitigating effect on your moral judgements towards impure ideas such as incest, allowing the researchers to conclude: “findings provide the first evidence that psychological disgust can be disrupted by an antiemetic and that doing so has consequences for moral judgments.”

The idea that something as innocuous as ginger can be used to lower your moral judgment is both fascinating and, when I ponder the long term implications of where this research may lead, at least mildly terrifying. Interestingly, ginger has a long and storied history as an aphrodisiac, leaving me to wonder if the reason for this categorization is actually based on its inhibition reducing properties. Sort of like alcohol but without the whiskey dick.

It’s not clear if there is a real cause for concern here, but one thing is certain. If your sister or mom cooks you a heavily ginger laden dish, you should proceed with caution lest you wind up accidentally eating their ass.

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