The present study investigated whether disgust-valenced information has an impact on children's fear beliefs about animals. Non-clinical children aged between 9 and 13 years (n=159) were presented with disgust-related and cleanliness-related information about unknown animals (Australian marsupials). Before and after information, beliefs of disgust and fear regarding the animals were assessed. Results showed that disgust-related information not only induced higher levels of disgust but also increased children's fear beliefs in relation to these animals. The other way around, cleanliness-related information decreased levels of disgust and resulted in lower levels of fear. The implications for the role of disgust in the development of animal fear are briefly discussed.

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Behaviour Research and Therapy
Department of Psychology

Muris, P., Mayer, B., Huijding, J., & Konings, T. (2008). A dirty animal is a scary animal! Effects of disgust-related information on fear beliefs in children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46(1), 137–144. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2007.09.005