Immoral People's Characters May be Disgusting, But, Surprisingly, Their Actions Not

OK, I admit it.  I find Donald Trump's character to be pretty, well, disgusting.

A new study agrees with me.  It says that a person's character, more so than their actions, determines whether we find immoral acts to be ‘disgusting,’ according to new research in Psychological Science, as reported by

 “We wanted to know why moral transgressions can be disgusting even when they don’t involve the kinds of things that typically disgust us, like body products, insects, and rotting foods,” says psychological scientist and study co-author Hanah Chapman of Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. “We found that what drives moral disgust seems to be the character of the transgressor — who they are more so than what they do.”

The worse someone’s character is, says Chapman, the more disgusting people typically find them to be.

The research was prompted by differing findings regarding how our judgments of moral violations evoke specific emotional responses: anger and disgust.

 Whether it's groping women -- admitting to it, and then denying it -- or cheating vendors out of money rightfully owed them to because of specious charges of dissatisfaction -- my finding of Trump's behavior and character "disgusting" may be shared by man.

Now, while we find "disgusting" the character of the people who commit immoral (or even moral) actions, the actions themselves are just angering, according to the study.  Research focused on whether a person’s bad character might be what leads us to feel disgust in response to harm and other rights violations.

 In their research, scientists found that the emotion ratings given by participants in the study indicated that  negative character evaluations were associated with greater disgust, but not greater anger.

So what are we to make of this?  I'm not sure.  Unfortunately, Trump elicits both disgust and anger in me so I'm afraid I wouldn't have been a good candidate for this study!


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