Emotions triggered by animals II: Fear and disgust

Silvie Rádlová, Šárka Peléšková, Jakub Polák, Eva Landová, Daniel Frynta

Abstract

Animals represent prioritised stimuli for humans, they are given more attention than inanimate objects, and this attention is accompanied by not only positive emotions, but also negative ones, such as fear and disgust. Both of these emotions play an important adaptive role in potentially dangerous situations. Fear represents human reaction to the presence of a predator or another fear-inducing stimulus posing an immediate threat, while disgust has evolved as a protection against diseases and infections. These emotions were significant during human evolutionary history, but they continue to influence us to this day, despite humans coming into contact with animals in the wild with increasing rarity. Fear and disgust are also a substantial part of animal phobias.
This work summarises our findings so far regarding negative emotions caused by animals. It deals with differences between the function of fear and disgust, their relation to each other, and their psychopathologies. Last but not least, it also discusses which specific features of animals influence their prioritized perception and experiencing of fear and disgust evoked by distinct animal groups.

https://doi.org/10.29364/epsy.332

(Fulltext in Czech)

Keywords

attitudes towards animals, fear, disgust, animal phobia

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