Friday, April 01, 2011

A bad taste in the mouth - more on embodied cognition and emotion

Eskine et al. provide yet another example of how emotion induced by a physical stimulus can influence a moral stance. (Previous mindblog postings have noted this effect for hard/soft or rough/smooth surfaces, hot/cold temperature stimuli, clean/dirty smells or visual images, etc.) The experimental subjects were the usual captive college psychology course undergraduates (54 of them in this case):
Can sweet-tasting substances trigger kind, favorable judgments about other people? What about substances that are disgusting and bitter? Various studies have linked physical disgust to moral disgust, but despite the rich and sometimes striking findings these studies have yielded, no research has explored morality in conjunction with taste, which can vary greatly and may differentially affect cognition. The research reported here tested the effects of taste perception on moral judgments. After consuming a sweet beverage, a bitter beverage, or water, participants rated a variety of moral transgressions. Results showed that taste perception significantly affected moral judgments, such that physical disgust (induced via a bitter taste) elicited feelings of moral disgust. Further, this effect was more pronounced in participants with politically conservative views than in participants with politically liberal views. Taken together, these differential findings suggest that embodied gustatory experiences may affect moral processing more than previously thought.


  1. Anonymous4:41 PM

    I had this same problem but it ended up being from canned air dusters that you use on computers instead of pine nuts. Check out the site here Bitter Taste In Mouth . But the next time I ate pine nuts I noticed that they also cause it a little.

  2. Marietta invisalign is tasteless but my friend who had got her invisalign fixed last week told me that it taste like medicine but I do not experience that with mine. Now I think that there can be a moral judgment with her remark about her invisalign.