Core, social and moral disgust are bounded: A review on behavioral and neural bases of repugnance in clinical disorders

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Abstract

Disgust is a multifaceted experience that might affect several aspects of life. Here, we reviewed research on neurological and psychiatric disorders that are characterized by abnormal disgust processing to test the hypothesis of a shared neurocognitive architecture in the representation of three disgust domains: i) personal experience of ‘core disgust’; ii) social disgust, i.e., sensitivity to others’ expressions of disgust; iii) moral disgust, i.e., sensitivity to ethical violations. Our review provides some support to the shared neurocognitive hypothesis and suggests that the insula might be the “hub” structure linking the three domains of disgust sensitivity, while other brain regions may subserve specific facets of the multidimensional experience. Our review also suggests a role of serotonin core and moral disgust, supporting “neo-sentimentalist” theories of morality, which posit a causal role of affect in moral judgment.

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