Thursday, April 21, 2011

320: The Brain and [ moral ] Disgust

Let's have a closer look at disgust today. We can make a distinction between the real, initial core of disgust and the more social form, that evolved from it.

The primary form of disgust relates to spoiled food and all kinds of secretions of the body. It is again an emotion that orchestrates a series of behaviors.

When we see something disgusting, and I'll save you the examples, we show a specific facial expression, we feel nausea or even vomit. A clear response of the organism on a threatening situation.

Most important is that we want to keep it as far as possible away from our selves, especially from our mouth.

Paul Rozin,who I mentioned in the previous lecture, did a nice experiment. He offered people chocolate. They refused to eat it. Why ????

The chocolate was in the shape of a realistic looking dog turd. When our ancestors did find something that looked like feces, then it were droppings, not chocolate, so let's disgust.

Your dog has a complete different opinion. When you take the fellow out, you have to stop at least every 50 paces, because our Fido needs to study the droppings or pee of a comrade with utmost accuracy.

In the previous lecture I suggested the question whether disgust is typical human or not. Animals dislike and avoid certain tastes too, but is that a genuine disgust response?

An important part of the human disgust reaction is the notion of contamination, a complex cognitive evaluation. We are very sensitive to it.

Suppose I show you a glass of lemonade and dip a fat spider in it. I have informed you that the spider was sterilised. Then I offer you the glass.

99% percent chance that you refuse to drink it. The drink is contaminated and thence disgusting. This doesn’t happen among animals, nor in children under 5 to 7 years of age.

Contamination is a strong effect. Paul Rozin did an experiment in which the test persons had to spit in their own glass of Cola. After that they refused to drink it.

This contamination effect is often used in politics. There is a famous Nazi propaganda movie about jews - next shot you see rats crawling - then a group of orthodox jews again - the rats again.

To qualify your opponent as trash, cockroach or rat is an effective way to mobilize the mob against a specific group in society. Disgust as a means to mobilize the mob.

It is amazing that we still love French kisses: yuk….body fluids touching each other! However, we could say, that kissing always has been an evolutionary advantage.

Husband and wife exchange their bacteria with love, which stimulates the immune system of the mother, so the baby is immune for the bacteria of mama and daddy both.

And isn't it true that parents never feel disgust, when sweet little Tommy decorates mamma's dress with his vomit, or daddy has the honor to change a well done diaper?

I could go on and on with all kinds of example of disgust, primary disgust and disgust also shaped by culture.

But the most important evolution of disgust is, that this response is no longer restricted to spoiled food and our excrements, but also to moral situations.

In this we are unique. When we ask people what they find the most disgusting, they barely will mention the objects of primary disgust like feces or spoiled food.

They will refer to the latest events mentioned in the news: the child abuse by priests, rape, a horrible murder or bonuses for bankers and unlimited enrichment.

I wonder. Has this basic emotion been the primary power in evolution to teach the homo sapiens ethics?

The Discussion

[2011/04/19 13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you... :-)
[2011/04/19 13:21] herman Bergson: Feel free to take the floor ...
[2011/04/19 13:22] herman Bergson: if you have any remark or question
[2011/04/19 13:22] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i think disgust is for our own keep our body healthy
[2011/04/19 13:22] Zen (zen.arado): so disgust started as evolutionarily advantageous?
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Beerthje that was the primary goal
[2011/04/19 13:23] Bejiita Imako: primairly I think so too
[2011/04/19 13:23] Zen (zen.arado): to protect us
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Zen
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: Biologically interesting...
[2011/04/19 13:23] Zen (zen.arado): or it worked out that way I should say
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: but now we also have amoral disgust...
[2011/04/19 13:23] Zinzi Serevi: so when we had no disgust we would have less ethics?
[2011/04/19 13:24] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): homo sapiens ethics would indicate a mystical scroll of proper behavior
[2011/04/19 13:24] Zen (zen.arado): if you didn't feel disgust you would eat things that would kill you
[2011/04/19 13:24] herman Bergson: No Zinzi..then we would have been extinct because of diseases
[2011/04/19 13:24] Doodus Moose: it almost seems as though we should have another word (or term) for moral & learned disgust
[2011/04/19 13:24] Bejiita Imako: I have a big such ones with swedish electrical companies like Vattenfall, the bosses behave bad and get the sack but still cause it stand in the papers
[2011/04/19 13:24] Bejiita Imako: they get 100s of millions
[2011/04/19 13:24] Bejiita Imako: that we pay on our electrical bills
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: manu families had to move out this winter cause they couldn't afford the bills to heat their homes
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: cause had to pay the bosses fat bonuses
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: grrr thats horrible
[2011/04/19 13:25] herman Bergson: Let's stick to the subject Bejiita...
[2011/04/19 13:25] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): could it be that disgust over a specified behavior coutl only be self reinforcemnt as to theri chosen belief system?
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats a big moral disgust for me
[2011/04/19 13:26] herman Bergson: I understand...and I share it with you
[2011/04/19 13:26] Bejiita Imako: but don't know if i feel disgust really, i more get angry
[2011/04/19 13:26] Zen (zen.arado): wonders if it is valid to say it is the same disgust in the moral case. We could say it is revulsion, antipathy, dislike?
[2011/04/19 13:26] Bejiita Imako: disgust i feel mostly with well spoiled food and yucky unhealthy unfresh stuff
[2011/04/19 13:26] Zinzi Serevi: why disgust and not love ?
[2011/04/19 13:26] Zen (zen.arado): but disgust expresses it more strongly
[2011/04/19 13:27] Zinzi Serevi: or other strong feelings
[2011/04/19 13:27] druth Vlodovic: is physical and moral disgust the same reaction physiologically?
[2011/04/19 13:27] herman Bergson: Yes Druth...that is an important point
[2011/04/19 13:28] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): it is interesting the mention of children under 7 years old not being disgusted
[2011/04/19 13:28] herman Bergson: Moral disgust also has the same physiological effect....a slowing down of the heart beat rate
[2011/04/19 13:28] Bejiita Imako: hmm maybe some for me, but for moral things i more feel anger and think " don't these people have morale, know how to behave"
[2011/04/19 13:28] herman Bergson: Yes aristotle....
[2011/04/19 13:28] Jerome Ronzales: existe a questio da salubridade, seja fisica o psicologica, ambas fedem...
[2011/04/19 13:28] herman Bergson: Some use it as an argument against its evolutionary origine...
[2011/04/19 13:28] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): taht would indicate a nurtured response to some degree
[2011/04/19 13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): a combinating ot the two
[2011/04/19 13:29] herman Bergson: yes indeed....but also may indicate that the emotion needs time to grow in the organism
[2011/04/19 13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): to be exposed to the the revulsion?
[2011/04/19 13:29] druth Vlodovic: I think there are different reactions to different types of moral breach, for instance you're angry at energy company bosses, but you might be disgusted by a homosexual (if you're against it)
[2011/04/19 13:30] herman Bergson: Yes indeed Druth....that is the right distinction
[2011/04/19 13:30] Bejiita Imako: something like that i guess
[2011/04/19 13:30] Zen (zen.arado): disgust in the moral case could be evolutionarily beneficial too....disgust at moral breaches can be detrimental to societies..
[2011/04/19 13:31] herman Bergson: Oh yes....
[2011/04/19 13:31] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): homo phobis is very interesting as to its origins, and our understanding of it via primally and cerebrally
[2011/04/19 13:31] Jerome Ronzales: errr
[2011/04/19 13:31] herman Bergson: brute murders..child it...they all threaten the safety of the group
[2011/04/19 13:32] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): and therefore you have to feel disgust
[2011/04/19 13:32] herman Bergson: You dont have to just feel it..automatically
[2011/04/19 13:32] Bejiita Imako: yes
[2011/04/19 13:33] herman Bergson: The main feature of basic emotions is that they are not controlled by our ratio..
[2011/04/19 13:33] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): not automatically - Ghadafi does not feel it automatically
[2011/04/19 13:33] Bejiita Imako: no its a basic instinctual drive
[2011/04/19 13:33] Bejiita Imako: i guess
[2011/04/19 13:33] herman Bergson: Oh yes Siggi...Gadafi feels fear
[2011/04/19 13:34] herman Bergson: even before he evaluates his political position
[2011/04/19 13:34] druth Vlodovic: they can be trained that effort, but often an old prejudice will surface if faced with an unexpected event
[2011/04/19 13:34] Bejiita Imako: i hope they shot that bastard soon , have killed sooo many innocent people that wants freedom
[2011/04/19 13:34] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): but allowing those destructive emotions to come to fruition is a cerebral failure
[2011/04/19 13:34] Bejiita Imako: ghadaffi make me both angry and disgusted
[2011/04/19 13:34] Bejiita Imako: what a swine he is!
[2011/04/19 13:35] herman Bergson: let's focus on the subject..:-)
[2011/04/19 13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the ratio should keep our primal selves in check
[2011/04/19 13:35] herman Bergson: what destructive emotions, Aristotle?
[2011/04/19 13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): all those negative aspects of our humanity, murder, rape , theft etc
[2011/04/19 13:36] herman Bergson: As I said atthe very beginning.....the ratio is en overestimated quality in man
[2011/04/19 13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): still, I believe that humans must use rationality to control our primitive urges
[2011/04/19 13:37] herman Bergson: When you study the history of looks as if mankind moved from one station to the next rational station...
[2011/04/19 13:37] herman Bergson: Oh yes Arsitotle...
[2011/04/19 13:37] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): and then returned to the beginning
[2011/04/19 13:37] herman Bergson: at the very end of was our rationality that made us survive as homo sapiens...
[2011/04/19 13:38] Zen (zen.arado): our 'primitive' urges might be wiser than our rationality :)
[2011/04/19 13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and that the gift of rationality is only a empty box when we are born
[2011/04/19 13:38] herman Bergson: otherwise we were just another chimpansee colony now, I guess..
[2011/04/19 13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes, something like that
[2011/04/19 13:38] Doodus Moose: rationality versus love? don't we sometimes choose to survive for the sake of our children?
[2011/04/19 13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): it is contributed to as we live
[2011/04/19 13:38] herman Bergson: would have been more benificial for planet earth maybe ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:39] herman Bergson: next lecture I'll tell you about John Gray..British philosopher...completely in line with my project..
[2011/04/19 13:39] druth Vlodovic: we can use our rationality to make our emotions into tools to help us
[2011/04/19 13:39] Zen (zen.arado): you mentioned the disgust reaction being manipulated to fool our rationality Herman
[2011/04/19 13:40] herman Bergson: to some extend Druth
[2011/04/19 13:40] herman Bergson: Yes Zen....standard method to mobilize the mob
[2011/04/19 13:40] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): passion is a most wonderful thing, the sweet fruit of life, untethered it can be a nighmare for us and others
[2011/04/19 13:41] herman Bergson: Call your opponent some disgusting being...rat, wurm, slime, shit...and the mob is willing to hit on him
[2011/04/19 13:41] druth Vlodovic: it is often better to direct and channel our passions, then to deny them
[2011/04/19 13:41] Zen (zen.arado): rationality untempered by feeling can be a monster too I think
[2011/04/19 13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I can tell you Herman that in perparation for war, soldiers are routinely done the same way
[2011/04/19 13:42] herman Bergson: rationality as such doesn't exist...
[2011/04/19 13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the enemy must be a vile creature
[2011/04/19 13:42] herman Bergson: nor feeling as such...
[2011/04/19 13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): so you can kill him
[2011/04/19 13:42] herman Bergson: the brain is a constant battlefield between priorities
[2011/04/19 13:43] Zen (zen.arado): yeh emotions and reason are intertwined some say now
[2011/04/19 13:43] Zinzi Serevi: till next time, :) thanks Herman
[2011/04/19 13:43] herman Bergson: Bye Zinzi
[2011/04/19 13:43] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): we teach our soldiers to hate, to me that is disgusting
[2011/04/19 13:43] Bejiita Imako: bye Zinzi
[2011/04/19 13:43] Zen (zen.arado): bye zin
[2011/04/19 13:44] herman Bergson: They need to regard their adversary disgusting Aristotle
[2011/04/19 13:44] druth Vlodovic: but rationality is controlled, to an extent, consciously
[2011/04/19 13:44] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes :(
[2011/04/19 13:44] Zen (zen.arado): but the original motivation is from emotions
[2011/04/19 13:44] druth Vlodovic: doesn't that make it distinct?
[2011/04/19 13:44] herman Bergson: Wait.....
[2011/04/19 13:44] Zen (zen.arado): we want something and justify it rationally
[2011/04/19 13:44] herman Bergson: an interesting remark of Druth....
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: rationality is controlled consciously.....
[2011/04/19 13:45] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL, go to a fire and brimstone religious revival and you will see the manipulation of emotions at work
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: this brings about a hell of a lot of philosophical questions...
[2011/04/19 13:45] Zen (zen.arado): agree Ari :)
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: rationality..some autonomous machine....
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: consciousness...some controler…
[2011/04/19 13:46] herman Bergson: We will face all these questions soon...:-)
[2011/04/19 13:46] herman Bergson: Just such a statement shows how complex the issue is
[2011/04/19 13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :) you raise so many tittelating things to think about Herman :)
[2011/04/19 13:47] herman Bergson smiles
[2011/04/19 13:47] herman Bergson: there is still so much in store Aristotle....
[2011/04/19 13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the origins of this disgust just blossoms in my mind
[2011/04/19 13:47] herman Bergson: What we are doing now is just loking at the world from a given point of view...
[2011/04/19 13:48] Zen (zen.arado): titillation =opposite of disgust ? :)
. poof…….!
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman crashed
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: back in a flash
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: wb Herman
[2011/04/19 13:50] Beertje Beaumont: welcome back
[2011/04/19 13:50] Jerome Ronzales: holly macarrony
[2011/04/19 13:50] Ciska Riverstone: wb Herman
[2011/04/19 13:50] Bejiita Imako: hehe wb,
[2011/04/19 13:50] herman Bergson: Oh I HATE THIS....
[2011/04/19 13:50] Bejiita Imako: that was fast indeed
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: yes amazingly
[2011/04/19 13:50] Zen Arado: disgusted herman? :)
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[2011/04/19 13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: SL is disgusting sometimes
[2011/04/19 13:51] herman Bergson: Yes Zen !!!! INDEED ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:51] Bejiita Imako: good that, i often have to wait several minutes when i crash cause "region logging u out now please try again in a few mins"
[2011/04/19 13:51] Zen Arado: yes me too
[2011/04/19 13:51] Bejiita Imako: and then when i get back in im naked and a girl and cant use my invent without loading the test avatar first
[2011/04/19 13:52] Bejiita Imako: happens now and then
[2011/04/19 13:52] Bejiita Imako: frustrating
[2011/04/19 13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Bekiita...if there is one disgusting thing in SL then it is such a crash ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:52] Bejiita Imako: yes
[2011/04/19 13:53] Bejiita Imako: esp when u are already late to some event say this class and want to get in as soon as possible
[2011/04/19 13:53] herman Bergson: We are lucky that is is almost time to dismiss class ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, don't you just love being Ruthed
[2011/04/19 13:53] Zen Arado: we are diluting the power of the word
[2011/04/19 13:53] Ludwig John: now I have to log out from sl and to log in to my bed - good night and bye
[2011/04/19 13:53] Bejiita Imako: hahah
[2011/04/19 13:53] Bejiita Imako: ok night Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: goodnight Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] Zen Arado: bye Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] herman Bergson: thank you all for your participation....
[2011/04/19 13:53] Doodus Moose: take care, Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] Beertje Beaumont: goodnight Siggy
[2011/04/19 13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...^_^
[2011/04/19 13:54] Bejiita Imako: well was interesting stuff again Herman
[2011/04/19 13:54] Bejiita Imako: gave me some stuff again to think about
[2011/04/19 13:54] Zen Arado: thanks Herman
[2011/04/19 13:54] druth Vlodovic: thank you herman
[2011/04/19 13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Professor :)
[2011/04/19 13:54] Doodus Moose: thanks everyone, and you Professor
[2011/04/19 13:54] herman Bergson: My pleasure doodus
[2011/04/19 13:54] herman Bergson: We'll talk later, Doodus
[2011/04/19 13:54] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[2011/04/19 13:54] Doodus Moose: till then, BYEEEEE!!!!!
[2011/04/19 13:55] Bejiita Imako: bye
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: as always, I leave with my mind in contemplation, Herman
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: thanks
[2011/04/19 13:56] herman Bergson: Drive carefully Aristotle...
[2011/04/19 13:56] herman Bergson: Keep your eyes on the road ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: good bey everyone
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed
[2011/04/19 13:57] Bilthor Esharham: Good bye everyone
[2011/04/19 13:57] herman Bergson: `Bye Bilthor
[2011/04/19 13:57] Jerome Ronzales: good-bye
[2011/04/19 13:57] herman Bergson: Adios jerome :-)
[2011/04/19 13:57] Bilthor Esharham: have safe paths and fare winds and honey sweet dreams
[2011/04/19 13:57] Jerome Ronzales: hasta prof.
[2011/04/19 13:58] Bilthor Esharham: ::))
[2011/04/19 13:58] Bilthor Esharham: Namarie
[2011/04/19 13:58] herman Bergson: hasta la proxima jerome :-)
[2011/04/19 13:58] Jerome Ronzales: we can talk spanish but my main language is portuguese
[2011/04/19 13:59] Jerome Ronzales: european portuguese
[2011/04/19 13:59] herman Bergson: oh dear...Portuguese...too much for me...:-)
[2011/04/19 13:59] Jerome Ronzales: yep, its not easy
[2011/04/19 13:59] herman Bergson: oh yes...way more difficult than spanish
[2011/04/19 13:59] herman Bergson: at least for me
[2011/04/19 14:00] Jerome Ronzales: i find spanish funny to talk...lots of different words
[2011/04/19 14:00] Jerome Ronzales: but hey, i love languages
[2011/04/19 14:01] druth Vlodovic: bye guys
[2011/04/19 14:01] herman Bergson: i love Spanish because I had 6 years of classic latin education...
[2011/04/19 14:01] herman Bergson: Bye Druth...
[2011/04/19 14:01] Jerome Ronzales: ah, very well
[2011/04/19 14:01] Zen Arado: bye everyone :)
[2011/04/19 14:01] herman Bergson: Bye Zen ..
[2011/04/19 14:02] Jerome Ronzales: ciao
[2011/04/19 14:02] Jerome Ronzales: :-)
[2011/04/19 14:02] LadyJayne Resident frowns....."I missed class...sorry Herman"

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment