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Disgust as an adaptive system for disease avoidance behaviour.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 2011; 366(1563):389-401
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pub_id
21199843
pubmedid
21199843
ISI
285793800008
reference_type
author
Curtis, V.; de Barra, M.; Aunger, R.;
title
Disgust as an adaptive system for disease avoidance behaviour.
secondary_title
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
ISBNISSN
1471-2970
volume
366
number
1563
pages
389-401
year
2011
abstract
Disgust is an evolved psychological system for protecting organisms from infection through disease avoidant behaviour. This 'behavioural immune system', present in a diverse array of species, exhibits universal features that orchestrate hygienic behaviour in response to cues of risk of contact with pathogens. However, disgust is also a dynamic adaptive system. Individuals show variation in pathogen avoidance associated with psychological traits like having a neurotic personality, as well as a consequence of being in certain physiological states such as pregnancy or infancy. Three specialized learning mechanisms modify the disgust response: the Garcia effect, evaluative conditioning and the law of contagion. Hygiene behaviour is influenced at the group level through social learning heuristics such as 'copy the frequent'. Finally, group hygiene is extended symbolically to cultural rules about purity and pollution, which create social separations and are enforced as manners. Cooperative hygiene endeavours such as sanitation also reduce pathogen prevalence. Our model allows us to integrate perspectives from psychology, ecology and cultural evolution with those of epidemiology and anthropology. Understanding the nature of disease avoidance psychology at all levels of human organization can inform the design of programmes to improve public health.
keywords
secondary_author
place_published
publisher
number_of_volumes
tertiary_author
tertiary_title
edition
date
type_of_work
subsidiary_author
alternate_title
call_number
accession_number
custom_1
WOS OK
custom_2
Unknown
custom_3
custom_4
10.1098/rstb.2010.0117
custom_5
PMC
custom_6
10
label
2016-10-18
notes
Journal Article
url
author_address
The Hygiene Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, , London WC1E 7HT, UK.
library
366/1563/389 10.1098/rstb.2010.0117 21199843
date_accepted
date_online
created
2011-01-06 12:59:18
modified
2016-07-08 00:00:00
library

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<ArticleId IdType="doi">10.1098/rstb.2010.0117</ArticleId>
<ArticleId IdType="pubmed">21199843</ArticleId>