I’ve often wondered why humans get grossed out by things or experiences. Animals don’t get grossed out (G.O.) but us humans and our big brains do it all the time. Of course, some people get grossed out more than others and by more things than others. But G.O. can probably happen to any of us if the gross factor is raised enough. The senseless TV show Fear Factor is proof of this.
If a small animal lands in a toilet, it does not get grossed out. It tries to get out of the toilet. A human in a similarly gross situation might get so disgusted that they would either not do what it takes to survive or be traumatized for life.
And so we do things like get obsessive compulsive disorders and use antibacterial wipes on everything… every day. Maybe we as humans know too much. We know that there are bacteria everywhere although the overly clean OCD people don’t think rationally. Many bacteria are good and killing good bacteria while making bad bacteria stronger is detrimental to everyone.
Sometimes the thought of a horrendous injury grosses us out. It’s either sympathy or a prediction of what it would feel like. Tastes of certain things can gross us out. The feeling of something against our skin also causes the state of being G.O. I don’t want to go into details on such things because I might gross you out and that’s not what this blog is all about. But what is being “grossed out” after all? It’s an emotional state that warrants some psychological research if it hasn’t been done already.
I’m not sure if being grossed out is any better than being stressed out but the former can surely cause the latter.