The fascinating process of human decomposition




We evolved to find sex, rotting food, and infections disgusting

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  • Researchers from the London School of Hygiene &TropicalMedicinehaveidentifiedsixdistincttypesofdisgust.
  • Amongthemarerottingfood,infectedwounds,andriskysexualbehaviour.
  • Womeninthestudyratedeverycategoryasmoredisgustingthanmendid.

Thereareplentyofreasonstobeafanofsex.There'sincreasingevidencethatit'sgoodforthebrain,andtheactofkissingmighthelpusfigureoutwhoisbiologicallycompatiblewithourselves.

Butifyoualsothinksexcanbealittlebitgross,youaren'talone.Infact,weallprobablyevolvedtofeelacertainlevelofdisgustforsexualbehaviour,accordingtonewresearchfromtheLondonSchoolofHygiene&TropicalMedicine.

Thenewstudy,publishedinthejournalPhilosophicalTransactionsoftheRoyalSociety,foundthattherearesixdistincttypesofdisgustandthatwomenmayfeelitmorethanmen.

Researcherssurveyedmorethan2,500people,givingthem74potentialrevoltingscenarios—includingseeingsomeonewithanobviousinfectionandlisteningtosneezesandbodilyfunctions—andaskedthemtoratehowdisgustedtheywereonascalefrom"nodisgust"to"extremedisgust."

Thesixcategoriesofdisgustwereatypicalappearance,lesions,sex,hygiene,food,andanimals.

Infectedwoundswerefoundtobethemostdisgustingscenariooverall,followedbytheviolationofhygienenorms,likebadbodyodour.

Scientistshavelongrecogniseddisgustasanemotionthatevolvedtohelpusavoidinfection,knownas"parasiteavoidancetheory,"butthisnewresearchsuggestsitisalsostructuredaroundoursocialnorms.

Forexample,rottingfoodcouldleadtodiseaseslikecholera,andbeinginclosecontactwithunwashed,unhygienicpeoplecouldhelpspreadleprosy.Openwoundscouldspreadplagueandsmallpox.Andsexcouldputyouatriskofinfectionslikesyphilis—stillarelatableproblem,especiallywiththerecentappearanceofsuper-gonorrhoea.

"Althoughweknewtheemotionofdisgustwasgoodforus,herewe'vebeenabletobuildonthat,showingthatdisgustisstructured,recognisingandrespondingtoinfectionthreatstoprotectus,"saidValCurtis,aseniorauthorofthepaperwhoteachesattheLondonSchoolofHygiene&TropicalMedicine."Thistypeofdiseaseavoidancebehaviourisincreasinglyevidentinanimals,andsoleadsustobelieveitisevolutionarilyveryancient."

Theteamalsofoundthatwomenratedeverycategoryasmoredisgustingthanmendid— something the researchers said was consistent with the tendency of men to indulge in riskier behaviours. Women in the study cited risky sexual behaviour and animals carrying diseases as the most disgusting scenarios.

"Although we only really came to understand how diseases transmit in the 19th century, it's clear from these results that people have an intuitive sense of what to avoid in their environment," said Micheal de Barra, a psychology professor at Brunel University London who helped lead the study.





Video: Evolutionary biologists have been misinterpreting a key point in Darwin’s theory for years

We evolved to find sex, rotting food, and infections disgusting
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Date: 09.12.2018, 19:06 / Views: 83265