Other studies have directly manipulated bodily disgust or fear of infection

Other studies have directly manipulated bodily

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outgroups (Navarrete & Fessler, 2006). Other studies have directly manipulated bodily disgust or fear of infection, finding that both can increase prejudice towards a number of outgroups, such as immigrants and the elderly (Duncan & Schaller, 2009; Green et al., 2010). In order to reduce the possibility of a catastrophic “false negative” in intergroup contact (i.e. not detecting a fatal pathogen threat), humans may have evolved to be hypervigilant of any outgroup cues that could indicate the existence of infectious pathogens (Schaller & Park, 2011). Park, Schaller, and Crandall (2007) propose that this demand leads to the employment of
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EMBODIED PREJUDICE 23 heuristics that are susceptible to overgeneralization or “false positives” when detecting threats from outgroups. For example, they suggest that “ any gross deviation from species-typical morphological norms may be interpreted as evidence of parasitic infection, triggering an aversive response” (p. 410, italics added for emphasis), regardless of its actual, diagnostic value. In line with an “overgeneralization” hypothesis of pathogen avoidance, negative attitudes towards outgroups that do not pose any specific pathogen threat towards ingroups—but, possess differing physical appearances—can occur, such as for individuals who are obese or physically disabled (Park, Faulkner, Schaller, 2003; Park, Schaller, & Crandall, 2007). In addition to possessing different physical appearances, outgroups may also engage in behaviors that increase perceived risks for pathogen transmission (e.g. eating practices, sexual behavior, personal hygiene). As such, disgust may occur for outgroup behaviors as well. In support of this claim, disgust sensitivity has been found to be positively correlated with negative attitudes towards behavioral practices that may increase pathogen transmission, such as deviant sexual behavior (Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe, & Bloom, 2009). However, a pathogen-based interpretation of disgust towards certain behaviors is currently controversial. An alternative interpretation is that disgust towards certain outgroup behaviors is due to perceived moral violations of the behaviors, rather than the potential for disease transmission (Schnall, Haidt, Clore, & Jordan, 2008). For example, the incidental induction of disgust (e.g. exposure to unpleasant odor) has been found to increase disapproval of potentially dangerous acts (e.g. sexually deviant behavior), but also a number of “immoral” behaviors that may or may not increase pathogen transmission, such as eating one’s own dog (Schnall et al., 2008). Furthermore, other researchers have suggested that disgust may be induced
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EMBODIED PREJUDICE 24 by “pure” moral transgressions, such as stealing money; however, these interpretations have received criticism, as well (e.g. Pizarro, Inbar, & Helion, 2011). Other explanations of disgust. While the previous section focused on a behavioral immune system model of digust, there are a number of competing explanations of the function of disgust in prejudice. For instance, as stated in the above example, certain theorists have focused on the role of disgust in condemning immoral behaviors within groups (e.g. Schnall et al., 2008).
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