You feel disgust towards something that you find repulsive. Examples of disgusting things are spoilt food, body products (e.g., blood, urine, and mucus), wounds, dead animals, and toxic substances1. The emotion is associated with direct input from the five senses. It can be triggered by smell (e.g., a pungent odor), taste (e.g., a rotten taste), sight (e.g., brownish/grayish colors, certain shapes), sound (e.g., a slithery sound), and touch (e.g., sliminess). Disgust is, like fear, an emotion that is considered primordial and closely related to our physical survival2. Its function is as important now as it was thousands of years ago: to keep us away from substances that may infect us or make us ill. Although the emotion itself is an innate reaction, the things that trigger it are mostly learned, and depend in part on cultural traditions and personal differences. For example, some cultures may find a certain food type (e.g., cow milk, or fermented beans) disgusting, while it is considered a delicacy in others.
Although disgust is most often considered an emotion towards physical objects, it can also be triggered by more abstract ‘things’ that one wants to keep away from1. Examples of such things are ideas (e.g., repulsive political ideas), and behavior (e.g., certain sexual preferences or acts). The emotion in these cases is usually called ‘moral disgust’4.
Disgusted people have the urge to reject, expel or remove the offensive object or substance, so that they will not get into (further) contact with it. This can even be seen in the facial expression of disgust: typically, people avert their gaze and close their eyes, nostrils and mouth.