PoliSci Blog

Posted on November 16th, 2020 in Faculty, Featured by Aaron Dusso
Slimy worms and sticky kids poster

Dr. Friesen, along with her co-author Dr. Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), recently published an article titled, “Slimy worms or sticky kids: How caregiving tasks and gender identity attenuate disgust response,” in the journal Politics and the Life Sciences.

You can find Dr. Ksiazkiewicz’s twitter thread discussing the piece here. It has some nice tables and figures explaining their findings.

Paper Abstract

Disgust is derived from evolutionary processes to avoid pathogen contamination. Theories of gender differences in pathogen disgust utilize both evolutionary psychological and sociocultural perspectives. Drawing on research that suggests that masculine and feminine gender identities are somewhat orthogonal, we examine how gender identity intersects with pathogen disgust. In addition, building on evolutionary psychological and sociocultural accounts of how caregiving and parental investment affect pathogen disgust, we present a new measure of caregiving disgust and compare its properties across gender, parental status, and political ideology with those of a conventional pathogen disgust measure. This registered report finds that how masculinity and femininity affect disgust varies by gender, disgust domain, and their intersection; that parental status effects vary by disgust domain but not gender; that reframing disgust in terms of caregiving eliminates the gender gap in disgust; and that the caregiving frame unexpectedly strengthens the relationship between disgust and political ideology.

Sign up for Dr. Friesen’s class on this very topic!

Dr. Friesen will cover this fascinating topic along with numerous similar areas of research in her section of our senior capstone class (POLS Y490) titled Biology and Politics during the spring 2021 semester. Sign up today!