Disgust and Anger Relate to Different Aggressive Responses to Moral Violations.Psychol Sci. 2017 May; 28(5):609-619.PS
In response to the same moral violation, some people report experiencing anger, and others report feeling disgust. Do differences in emotional responses to moral violations reflect idiosyncratic differences in the communication of outrage, or do they reflect differences in motivational states? Whereas equivalence accounts suggest that anger and disgust are interchangeable expressions of condemnation, sociofunctional accounts suggest that they have distinct antecedents and consequences. We tested these accounts by investigating whether anger and disgust vary depending on the costs imposed by moral violations and whether they differentially correspond with aggressive tendencies. Results across four studies favor a sociofunctional account: When the target of a moral violation shifts from the self to another person, anger decreases, but disgust increases. Whereas anger is associated with high-cost, direct aggression, disgust is associated with less costly indirect aggression. Finally, whether the target of a moral violation is the self or another person influences direct aggression partially via anger and influences indirect aggression partially via disgust.