On Trust and Disgust: Evidence From Face Reading and Virtual Reality
We report three studies exploring the relationship between disgust and trust. Study 1a measured emotions using face-reading technology while participants played a repeated trust game. We observed a negative correlation between trust and disgust. Study 1b employed self-reports along with the face reader. The self-report procedure adversely affected participants’ emotional state and eliminated the correlation between trust and other emotions. Study 2 induced incidental disgust or sadness using virtual reality and manipulated participants’ awareness of the source of their emotions. Disgusted participants judged others as less trustworthy and sent less in a trust game than sad or control participants. An interaction indicated that awareness of the source of emotions eliminated the effect. Our data are consistent with the association between disgust and harsher moral judgments and suggest that disgust is antithetical to the building of trust. However, the association disappears if individuals are aware that their disgust is unrelated to the setting.