Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Jaime Settle

Committee Members

Paul Manna

Matthew Hilimire


Though disgust is one of the most basic of human feelings, recent research (Schaich Borg, Lieberman, and Kiehl, 2008; Tybur, Lieberman, and Griskevicius, 2009) has provided new insights into the cognition of this emotion. The present work incorporates these new findings as it examines the political implications of different types of disgust motivated by evolutionary pressures to avoid pathogens, enhance reproductive success, and deter freeloading social behavior. Prior research has linked political conservatism, opposition to gay marriage, and disgust sensitivity (Smith et al. 2011). However, the role disgust plays in political attitudes toward transgender individuals has not been investigated previously. My research shows that the role of disgust in political conservatism pertains not just to matters of sexual orientation, but gender identity as well. Using an undergraduate sample, the present study finds a gendered relationship, wherein females (but not males) with higher self-reported sexual disgust sensitivity and those with greater physiological reactivity to a sexually disgusting stimulus have greater transphobia and anti-transgender positions on legislation that affects transgender individuals. Skin conductance levels (SCLs) served as the physiological indicator of psychological arousal when various types of disgust were induced by means of video clips.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only