acta ethologica

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 57–62

The association between disgust, danger and fear of macroparasites and human behaviour

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10211-010-0075-4

Cite this article as:
Prokop, P. & Fančovičová, J. acta ethol (2010) 13: 57. doi:10.1007/s10211-010-0075-4


Evolutionary explanations of disgust propensity propose that disgust is an adaptation which helps us to decrease the likelihood of being infected by pathogens. To test this hypothesis, we examined human fear, disgust and self-perceived danger as a response on colourful pictures of disease-relevant and disease-irrelevant invertebrates. Furthermore, we also examined a possible link between these variables and human anti-parasite behaviour. We found that participants clearly distinguished between disease-relevant and disease-irrelevant group of animals, and that females always scored higher than males. Moreover, there were associations between ratings of fear, disgust and danger and human anti-parasite behaviour. Our results support the hypothesis that human emotions and behaviours are shaped by natural selection.


ParasitesNatural selectionHuman behaviourDisgustFear

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag and ISPA 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of ZoologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of TrnavaTrnavaSlovakia