Morality stems from feelings of physical revulsion

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  • Injstice really does leave a bad taste in your mouth

    Scientists have discovered being cheated or badly treated can evoke exactly the same revulsion response as foul-tasting food.

    This shows that the origins of our moral code lie in the involuntary revulsion we feel that makes us avoid rotting matter and other nasties that, if ingested, would be a health hazard.

    The involuntary emotional reaction that keeps us away from potential sources of infection is the same instinct that prompts us to uphold moral standards thus explaining why injustice is said to leave a bad taste in the mouth.

    Hanah Chapman, of the University of Toronto told The Times, ‘Morality is often pointed to as the pinnacle of human evolution and development, however, disgust is an ancient, rather primitive emotion which played a key evolutionary role in survival.

    ‘Our research shows the involvement of disgust in morality, suggesting that moral judgment may depend as much on simple emotional processes as complex thought,’ added Chapman.

    Another scientist in the Toronto team, Adam Anderson said: ‘Surprisingly, our sophisticated moral sense of what is right and wrong may develop from a newborn’s innate preference for what tastes good and bad.’


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