Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Arkansas Researchers Tease Out The Role Of Disgust In Phobias

Date:
November 27, 2002
Source:
University Of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Summary:
Heights, crowds, dark places, open spaces, snakes, spiders and needles all have one thing in common–many people fear them pathologically, to the point of having a phobia. However, these phobias differ amongst themselves in that some contain a dollop of disgust–what University of Arkansas psychologist Jeffrey Lohr calls the "yuck" factor.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Heights, crowds, dark places, open spaces, snakes, spiders and needles all have one thing in common–many people fear them pathologically, to the point of having a phobia. However, these phobias differ amongst themselves in that some contain a dollop of disgust–what University of Arkansas psychologist Jeffrey Lohr calls the "yuck" factor.

Disgust may explain why one phobia in particular–fear of needles, blood and invasive procedures–has proved so difficult to treat, so Lohr and his colleagues are working to separate the emotions of fear and disgust in phobias.

"This one phobia always seems to have different results" when therapists try to address it, said graduate student Suzanne Meunier.

Lohr, Meunier and graduate student Bunmi Olatunji presented their findings at a recent meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy in Reno, Nevada.

Researchers who treat phobia as a matter of simple fear may do so to their client’s peril, said Lohr.

"If you’re looking to try to change the behavior, there may be different mechanisms for changing loathing than for changing fear," Lohr said.

They have focused on fear and loathing of blood and guts, otherwise known as blood-injection-injury phobia. This phobia often manifests as a fear of needles, and people who suffer from it will avoid doctor’s offices or donating blood. This fear seems to involve a large disgust component, the "yuck!" factor, as opposed to the "yeow!" factor.

To separate the two emotions, the researchers first wanted to determine that people with and without blood-injection-injury fears could distinguish between them. They created images that might elicit fear or disgust–including images of surgeries, needle sticks, rotting food and feces–and images that depicted neutral scenes, such as piles of tools or kitchen utensils. The subjects were then shown an image on the left side of a screen for about eight seconds, and a facial expression on the right side of the screen for about two seconds. The facial expressions showed images of people expressing disgust (nose wrinkled, mouth scrunched up, eyes squeezed shut), fear (eyes and mouth open wide) or neutrality. Each picture was paired at different times with each facial expression. When asked to rate what percent of the time each face was paired with a picture, people paired the surgery and injection images with both fearful and disgusted expressions and the rotting foods and bodily function images with disgusted expressions. The students also paired the neutral expressions with neutral images. They did this even though each image was shown with each expression the same number of times.

"Their perceptions were inaccurate," Meunier said. They were associating the expressions in a biased manner with what they perceived to be the disgusting or fearful object.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "University Of Arkansas Researchers Tease Out The Role Of Disgust In Phobias." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021126203705.htm>.
University Of Arkansas, Fayetteville. (2002, November 27). University Of Arkansas Researchers Tease Out The Role Of Disgust In Phobias. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021126203705.htm
University Of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "University Of Arkansas Researchers Tease Out The Role Of Disgust In Phobias." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021126203705.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins