disgust and anxiety based emotional reasoning in contamination fear

Published: 4 December 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/8xhkj7r4v6.1
Peter de Jong


Raw spss data file representing a sample of 130 participants; the file contains descriptive vars both on item and measure level; idem threat (A), contamination (B) and illness (Z) probability ratinge for neutral without emotional response (N), disgust (W), and anxiety (A) response for both contamination relevant scenarios and general threat scenarios. Abstract of the study: There is preliminary evidence that individuals with fear of contamination infer danger on the basis of their disgust responses. This hampers the identification of false alarms and may thus confirm their contamination concerns. This study tested the robustness of this evidence and examined (i) whether it is restricted to contamination contexts or represents a more general inclination, and (ii) if emotional reasoning in contamination fear is specific for disgust or is also evident for anxiety. Individuals with varying levels of contamination fears (N=130) read scripts involving low intensity contamination-relevant or contamination-irrelevant threats that varied in the presence/absence of an emotional response. Following each script participants rated the perceived risk of becoming ill, risk of contamination, and perceived danger. Fear of contamination was associated with both disgust-based and anxiety-based emotional reasoning that was especially evident for inferring the risk of becoming ill, and was largely restricted to contamination-relevant scenarios. The findings provided evidence for domain-specific emotional reasoning in fear of contamination that is not restricted to disgust but also evident for anxiety. Together the results point to emotional reasoning as a potentially relevant target for interventions to reduce contamination fears.



Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Faculteit Gedrags en Maatschappijwetenschappen


Clinical Psychology