This page describes research related to the Insect Disgust Survey


Insects are widely disliked by the general public, despite the fact that they provide valuable ecosystem services and are vital components of most ecosystems. Negative attitudes toward insects and other arthropods likely contribute to the paucity of conservation resources devoted to them, especially when compared to vertebrate species. One component of negative attitudes toward insects is disgust. The emotion of disgust has been widely researched, and is typically divided into distinct types, such as pathogen-specific disgust and moral disgust. We postulated that disgust in reference to insects is unique from other previously-validated types of disgust. We conducted a survey of 704 incoming freshmen at a major Midwestern university with questions pertaining to moral, pathogen, and insect-specific disgust. Factor analyses indicate that insect disgust and pathogen disgust are part of the same construct, unique from moral disgust. Thus, our results suggest that survey respondents perceived insects in the same way as pathogens, at least as relates to disgust. This research has implications for insect conservation, in that it provides insight as to how the public views insects.

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