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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 25-Sep-09

 


Friday 25-September-09

Bad taste, literally

Where does the phrase 'bad taste' come from? It means 'bad judgment' but how is judgment related to gustatory senses?

Hanah Chapman and colleagues watched the subjects as they tasted unpleasant liquids, looked at gory pictures, and were conned in a financial game. In each situation, the same muscles controlling the wrinkling of the nose and raising of the upper lip were activated. They also reported that a picture of a disgusted expression best captured how they felt. In other words we pull the same face whether we literally experience a bad taste or when something morally reprehensible is done.

Interestingly, the linkage between gustatory sensation and bad judgment are linked in language -- hence the word 'disgust' which literally means 'bad taste'.

Reference:
H. A. Chapman, D. A. Kim, J. M. Susskind, A. K. Anderson (2009). In Bad Taste: Evidence for the Oral Origins of Moral Disgust. Science.


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