Disgust is such a powerful emotion, and so easily evoked. A single disgusting word or image can make most anyone feel queasy, but it also turns out to be a powerful driver of human behavior, influencing everything from who you love to who you'll vote for. This hour, we're delving into the new science of revulsion.
Valerie Curtis is a public health scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and she's part of a growing network of "disgustologists" who are pioneering the new science of revulsion. They're discovering that disgust is a powerful driver of human behavior, influencing everything how we vote to who we love.
It's believed that disgust evolved to help early humans avoid pathogens. These days, it shapes everything from our reactions to strangers to kinds of foods we like to eat. Psychologist David Pizarro studies disgust and moral reasoning, and he's discovered that revulsion is even tied to a person's political affiliation. Steve Paulson caught up with him to find out why.
Why is it that a dish can be a delicacy in one culture and loathsome in another? To find out, we spoke to Christa Weil. She's a journalist with a taste for what she calls "fierce food" -- food that's on the challenging side, like hakarl, the putrefying shark meat that's Iceland's national dish.
Edible insects are emerging as the latest food trend, with bugs popping up on restaurant menus all across the country. It's not just exoticism that's fueling their popularity -- due to their efficient growth rates, insects are being touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to factory farmed meat. A recent UN report even says that insects can help tackle global food insecurity.
Arnold van Huis is one of the report's authors. He spoke to Rehman Tungekar.
Biologist Merlin Tuttle has devoted his life to saving bats. As the founder of Bat Conservation International, he's gone everywhere to find rare species -- often encountering dangerous caves, crocodile infested rivers, and bandits along the way. He spoke to Steve Paulson about his latest memoir, "The Secret Lives of Bats."
What is it about certain films, and certain directors, that inspires obsession? Maybe because these directors are obsessed themsleves. Like the legendary Werner Herzog, who hauled a full-scale ship over a mountain.
"The New York Times" co-chief film critic Manohla Dargis talks about the documentary, "Room 237," which features some fans who are so obsessed with "The Shining" that they've come up with their own creative interpretations of what it's really about.
Writer Jon Ronson talks about his experience as the keyboard player for Frank Sidebottom's band during the late '80s. Chris Sievey portrayed Frank by wearing a giant papier mache head on stage. And off. Ronson's experiences also inspired the new film, "Frank," which Ronson co-wrote.
Russ Meyer was a film director known for his sexploitation films full of campy humor, clever satire and women with very large breasts. Most of his movies were very successful. But "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" was not. It was a box office flop when it was originally released in August 1965. But since then, it's gone on to become a cult classic. Dean DeFino tells us why "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is worth watching and re-watching.