Mapping the everyday concept of disgust in five cultures

Inge Schweiger Gallo, Sofian El-Astal, Michelle Yik, Iciar Pablo-Lerchundi, Reyes Herrero López, Mónica Terrazo-Felipe, Peter M. Gollwitzer, José Miguel Fernández-Dols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Past research has shown that disgust is a heterogeneous category and lacks unity in its defining features. In the two studies reported in this paper, we examined the internal structure of disgust in English, and its translation equivalents of asco in Spanish, Ekel in German, garaf in Arabic, and yanwu in Chinese. In Study 1, 517 participants listed the most accessible constitutive features (definition, elicitors, and physical responses) of the concept of disgust in their culture. In Study 2, 653 participants were asked to judge the extent to which each of the 63 features extracted from Study 1 was typical of the concept of disgust in their respective culture. Results revealed differences in content, as well as internal structures across the five cultural groups: the disgust concepts differed in the degree of typicality of their constitutive features, the relevance of single features, the extent to which they shared features and the structural properties of the features. Taken together, our results question the assumed conceptual equivalence of the disgust concept across five cultures and raise questions about the suitability of deploying direct translations of disgust terms in cross-cultural research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18003-18024
Number of pages22
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • Disgust
  • Emotion concept
  • Moral disgust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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