Recommended Conferences

Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
Related Subjects
 

Facial disfigurement is treated like an infectious disease

Author(s): Ryan S, Oaten M, Stevenson RJ, Case TI

Abstract

The behavioral avoidance of people with facial disfigurement is well documented, but its psychological basis is poorly understood. Based upon a disease avoidance account of stigmatization, we conducted the first empirical test of whether facial disfigurement—naevus flammeus (a port wine stain) here—can trigger the same set of emotional and behavioral responses as a contagious disease (influenza). Ninety-eight participants contacted props, which they had seen used either by a healthy confederate or by a confederate simulating medical conditions affecting the face—birthmark and influenza. Behavioral avoidance (e.g., willingness to handle the prop) and facial display of disgust were recorded across five levels of prop contact varying from no contact to contact with the mouth. Behavioral avoidance and disgust displays, especially with oral contact, were equivalent in the birthmark and influenza conditions, with both significantly exceeding reactions to the healthy confederate. These results support the theory that humans have an evolved predisposition to avoid individuals with disease signs, which is mediated by the emotion of disgust. This implicit avoidance occurs even when they know explicitly that such signs—the birthmark here—result from a noncontagious condition.

Similar Articles

The secret power of beauty

Author(s): Armstrong J

Social pressures in informal groups: A study of a housing community

Author(s): Festinger L, Schachter S, Back K

The acquaintance process

Author(s): Newcomb TM

The portrayal of overweight and obese persons in commercial television

Author(s): Greenberg BS, Eastin M, Hofshire L, Lachlan K, Brownell KD

Facial diversity and infant preferences for attractive faces

Author(s): Langlois JH, Ritter JM, Roggman LA, Vaughn LS

Infant preferences for attractive faces: Rudiments of a stereotype? Dev Psychol 23: 363-369

Author(s): Langlois JH, Roggman LA, Casey RJ, Ritter JM, Rieser-Danner LA, et al.

Behavioral reduction of infection risk

Author(s): Kiesecker JM, Skelly DK, Beard KH, Preisser E

The behavioral immune system (and why it matters)

Author(s): Schaller M, Park JH

Origins of major human infectious diseases

Author(s): Wolfe ND, Dunavan CP, Diamond J

Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness and sexual dimorphism

Author(s): Rhodes G, Yoshikawa S, Palermo R, Simmons LW, Peters M, et al.

Red, rank and romance in women viewing men

Author(s): Elliot AJ, Niesta Kayser D, Greitemeyer T, Gramzow M, Lichtenfeld S, et al.

Red and romantic behavior in men viewing women

Author(s): Niesta Kayser D, Elliot AJ, Feltman R

Pathogen prevalence and human mate preferences

Author(s): Gangestad SW, Buss DM