Have you ever felt your skin being crawled? Maybe You Can Thank Evolution.


Thus, Dr. Kupfer studied YouTube with Sonia Alas and Tiffany Hwang, then undergraduates at UCLA. They watched and debated for hours to choose the most mundane and despicable images possible. Dr. Many options, such as images of “mildly moldy food,” were too thin, Kupfer said. “We wanted stool, we wanted some kind of infection,” he explained.

Dr. Kupfer’s dream has come true. Recent clips of ectoparasites included a kitten riddled with fleas, a nightmarish bedbug infestation, and a beautiful photo of a blood-sucking mosquito. Flesh pulsating with maggots, an infected arm lesion oozing pus between recent clips of pathogens – Dr. Fessler called it a “volcano of pus”—and there was a pile of earwax as dark as an asteroid.

Et, Dr. It was Kupfer’s own work; After he couldn’t find a disgusting enough rotten food video, he left a piece of meat in his garden for two weeks and returned when it “looked extremely disgusting.”

The video that researchers found most disgusting – the video titled “Dirty festival toilets,” in the newspaper’s supplementary information, has since been removed from YouTube. This is perhaps for the best. I tried to watch every video used in the experiment. I didn’t vomit but had heart palpitations and had to sit in my bathroom with the lights off for a few minutes until I stopped seeing the volcano of pus. Missing out on dirty festival toilets was apparently an act of self-care.

The researchers conducted essentially the same experiment three times, twice in the United States and once in China, and surveyed more than 1,000 people in total. In all three surveys, participants responded differently to ectoparasite videos compared to pathogen videos. When watching for ectoparasites, participants reported more scratching and urges to scratch, theoretically protecting the surface of their skin from danger. While watching for pathogens, the participants reported more nausea and urges to vomit.

The researchers plan to expand this project internationally to see how ectoparasite disgust responses vary in different countries and in different languages. They say that understanding the nuances of disgust can help us understand ailments such as delusional parasitosis, the false belief that parasites are invading the body.

Bunmi O. Olatunji, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the research, said she sees the new paper’s results as too preliminary to make inferences about clinical conditions. But it offers “interesting possibilities for thinking about the mechanism of disgust at the development and maintenance of skin picking disorder.”


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