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The role of disgust and fear of contamination in responses to pictorial versus live stimuli

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posted on 2021-05-23, 11:15 authored by Valerie Vorstenbosch
Disgust appears to play a role in certain animal fears and not others. The present study investigated the extent to which pictorial and live stimuli arouse fear and disgust responses during a brief encounter with spider-relevant and dog-relevant stimuli and whether individual differences in disgust sensitivity and fear of contamination are responsible for differential responding. Participants with a high fear of spiders (n=20) or dogs (n=19) completed measures of spider fear, dog fear, disgust sensitivity, contamination fear, and trait anxiety, and four behavioural approach tasks. Results suggest that pictorial stimuli may be effective for eliciting fear and disgust response for individuals with a high fear of spiders but not individuals with a high fear of dogs. Individual differences in disgust-relevant factors were not responsible for these differences. The results may inform the use of pictorial stimuli in the treatment of specific phobias.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Martin M. Antony

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