Disgust sensitivity and moral judgments of purity: The role of transgression weirdness

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Description: Disgust sensitivity is more strongly related to moral judgments in the purity domain than to moral judgments in other moral domains. While this finding highlights the distinctiveness of moral domains, anti-modularity accounts suggest that the relationship is caused by the relative weirdness of purity transgressions and come to the conclusion that moral domains do not represent distinct mechanisms. In two studies (total N = 2,307), we test whether transgression weirdness accounts for disgust sensitivity’s stronger association with moral judgments of the purity as compared to other moral domains, but find little evidence for this claim. The relationship between disgust sensitivity and moral judgments of purity even remains when taking into account both (perceived) weirdness and (perceived) harmfulness of moral transgressions. These studies show that transgression weirdness and harmfulness cannot explain the disgust sensitivity–purity link, contradicting predictions following from popular anti-modularity accounts.

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