Dr. Joshua Rottman


Friday, February 23, 2018 - 3:10pm


Dr. Josh Rottman

Speaker University: 

Franklin & Marshall



Friday, February 23, 2018 - 3:10 p.m.
Title:  In Sickness and In Filth: Children’s Developing Disdain of Dirty People

Abstract:  Purity is universally valued, and slurs designed to emphasize the dirty or disgusting nature of marginalized individuals or groups has historically served as a powerful means of dehumanization and vilification.  In this talk, I will present evidence demonstrating the power of disgust to diminish moral concern.  First, I will briefly review my findings that testimony about disgust can lead children to moralize harmless actions.  Next, I will present new research measuring attitudes toward dirty and unhealthy individuals, finding that both implicit and explicit biases against physically unclean and unhygienic people emerge by the age of 5 and persist through adulthood.  I will then discuss these results in light of my theoretical work proposing that disgust evolved not merely as a mechanism for avoiding physical toxins and contaminants, but also as a parochial emotion adapted for social exclusion.

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