Incidental Disgust Increases Adherence to Left-Wing Economic Attitudes
Petrescu DC., Parkinson B.
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Previous research has suggested that disgust is associated with conservative political attitudes (Cognit Emot, 23:714–725 by Inbar et al. 2009). The present research evaluated whether disgust can also lead to more liberal attitudes, due to its relation to fairness-related violations. Across three studies, we demonstrated that inducing feelings of disgust lead participants to adopt more left-wing political attitudes with regard to economic issues. In Study 1, participants induced to experience disgust by looking at four photographs reported more left-wing economic attitudes than participants who were exposed to sadness-inducing images. In Study 2, the same effect was observed but only for participants who had greater sensitivity to their bodily sensations. Study 3 replicated Studies 1–2 and also showed that besides economic attitudes, participants’ general political orientation was also shifted toward the liberal spectrum by a disgust induction. Taken together, these results provide evidence for a relationship between feelings of disgust and the endorsement of equality-promoting political attitudes. Our results, therefore, provide a different perspectives on disgust and the first evidence that it can also lead people to adopt more liberal attitudes on economic issues.