Neurology and Behaviour. Focus question: Is there an increase in the perception and rating of disgust in females rather than males?

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TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                        page number

  1.  DESIGN                                                                                3

1.1   Defining the problem                                                                3

  • Focus / research question
  • Hypothesis
  • Background information / theory
  • Investigation Variables

1.2 Controlling Variables                                                                4

  • Treatment of Controlled Variables
  • Control Experiment

1.3 Experimental Method                                                                4

  • Materials
  • Risk Assessment
  • Method

2 DATA COLLECTION and PROCESSING                                                        5

2.1 Recording Raw Data

  • Quantitative Data
  • Qualitative Data
  1. Processing Raw Data                                                                6
  • Statistical Processing - calculations
  1. Presenting Processed Data                                                        6
  • Result (s) table (s)
  • Graph (s)
  • Graph (b)

3 CONCLUSION and EVALUATION                                                                8

3.1 Conclusion

  • Conclusion statement
  • Conclusion explanation

3.2 Evaluation Procedures                                                                9

  • Reliability
  • Limitations / Weaknesses / errors in Laboratory Investigation
  • Significance of weaknesses on experimental results
  1. Improving the Investigation                                                        10
  • Modifications to experiment

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                                11

APPENDIX                                                                                12

Appendix One: Curtis et al, 2004. Paired disgust sensitivity stimuli and average disgust scores        

Appendix Two: Disgust Sensitivity by age and gender (Curtis et al. 2004)                        


Appendix Four: Participant Consent Form                                                        

Appendix Five: Risk Assessment for research using human participants                                

Appendix Six: Survey for Participants                                                        



1.1        Defining the problem

Focus question: Is there an increase in the perception and rating of disgust in females rather than males?

Hypothesis: If disease related pictures are shown to a female participant they will rate it higher, in terms of disgust than the male participants.

Background Information:

Disgust is a powerful human emotion that is signalled by the presence of certain olfactory or visual stimuli. Odour molecules possess a large variety of features and due to this they excite specific receptors more or less strongly. These signals are then combined by the different receptors in order to create what individuals perceive as smell. Olfactory receptor neurons in the nose are different to other neurons due to their short lifespan however regenerate on a regular basis. (Moran, 2007) Vision however is the ability of the eye to focus and detect light using the photoreceptors located on the retina of each eye. The photoreceptors sense and encode the patterns created by light found in the individuals surroundings. These photoreceptors are sensory neurons and the axons of particular retinal ganglion cells start from the back of the eyeball in the individual’s optic nerves and then following the central nervous system to reach the brain where the information is then processed. (Marieb, 1995)

When confronted with certain items and situations humans are said to feel disgust. Some examples of these include faeces, vomit, sweat, blood, pus, sexual fluids, dead bodies, rotting meat, slime, maggots, rats, sickness and even events such as incest, theft and tyranny. (Curtis and Biran, 2001) Disgust itself is thought to be a universal emotion within humans and when experiencing it, many humans across different cultures display similar facial expressions. It can also manifest to produce certain symptoms such as lowered blood pressure, nausea and even skin conductance response; in which the sweat glands raise the moisture level of the skin due to the sympathetic nervous system. (Curtis et al. 2004) It has been argued that ‘core disgust’ relates to the oral ingestion of substances which could cause illness, for instance rotten meat. This continues to say that violations of the body and sexual behaviour remind individuals of their animal nature and hence mortality, this in turn causes anxiety. (Rozin, 2000) For this reason this experiment aims to test whether or not a sample of individuals will experience more disgust and also display more universal physiological symptoms of disgust when exposed to images of potentially noxious or contaminated substances and materials to those which are similar yet less likely to be linked to disease or illness. This is similar to the experiment conducted by Curtis et al in 2004. (Appendix One)

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It has been proposed that disgust serves as an evolutionary adaption serving to bias behaviour away from risk of infectious diseases in general and not just via consumption. (Curtis and Biran, 2001) An example of this the bodily excretions and secretions of others are also avoided because they may contain high concentrations of bacterial and viral pathogens. These parasitic agents can enter a host’s body via the nose, skin or sexual organs, not simply via the mouth. Disgust has since basic times evolved with the formation of society and due to this in the social domain individuals may experience ...

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***** An excellent investigation in to the differing rates of disgust with males and females. The introduction gave some excellent scientific information into the evolutionary and environmental factors that can influence disgust and why this might be different between males and females. The data was collected and analysed thoroughly with an excellent conclusion using the data to support the hypothesis.