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Vocalisations of Disgust

Vocalisations of Disgust across Behavioural Contexts: A Computational Analysis

Nonverbal vocalisations can serve important functions. For example, screams can alert others to dangers, and laughing can bring us closer to others. Why do we make sounds, for instance, when we smell spoiled food or unblock a clogged toilet, though? Disgust vocalisations are believed to be acoustically distinct from other types of vocalisations, but understanding of the distinctiveness, complexity and richness of these vocalisations is limited. Here, we aim to discover when and why we systematically produce disgust vocalisations.

Disgust serves the crucial evolutionary function of motivating avoidance of the pathogens that cause infectious diseases. Disgust toward tastes and smells seem to be found across mammalian species. Humans also experience a more complex form of disgust unrelated to pathogens, such as repugnance of violations of social norms or moral standards (e.g., sexual/physical abuse). These types of disgust might communicate moral standards or lack of interest in someone making romantic advances. In this project, we aim to test whether there are acoustically different kinds of disgust vocalisations associated with different contextual features.

Participating organisations

Netherlands eScience Center
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam


Jisk Attema
Jisk Attema
Programme Manager
Netherlands eScience Center
Joshua M. Tybur
Lead Applicant
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Roza G. Kamilo─člu
Postdoctoral researcher
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Disa A. Sauter
Co Applicant
University of Amsterdam,