"Despite being fully aware of how disgusted they were, participants could not turn away from any of the disgusting content, and actually paid more attention as the content became more disgusting, Rubenking said."
Washington, June 14 - Bloody and disgusting scenes in a movie capture our attention and engage our faculties more deeply, no matter if we like such scenes or not, new research shows.

People exposed to core disgusts (blood, guts, body products) in the study showed higher levels of attention even though they had negative reactions to the content.

We pay more attention once disgust is introduced and we remember the content with disgust better, making it a smart device for content creators to use, in moderation, said Bridget Rubenking from the University of Central Florida.

Researchers conducted an experiment with 120 participants.

The participants watched clips of three distinct types of disgust - socio-moral, body product and death/gore.

Researchers measured participants' heart rate, facial expressions and skin moisture.

They also tested participants' memory for scenes presented in the messages.

The memory improved at and after disgust onset across all disgust types, and heart rate showed a deeper deceleration over time - showing more attention being paid to the content.

Despite being fully aware of how disgusted they were, participants could not turn away from any of the disgusting content, and actually paid more attention as the content became more disgusting, Rubenking said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Communication.


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