News & Opinion | June 5, 2018 5:00 am

The Healthy Biological Benefits Behind Feelings of Disgust

British scientific study finds that revulsion actually warns people away from potential infection.

A hospital health worker stand prepares to remove garbage from Ebola patients  between wings/buildings of the Redemption  Hospital which has become a transfer and holding center to intake Ebola patients located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Monrovia that locals call "New Kru Town on Saturday September 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. (Photo by Michel du Cille/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A hospital health worker stand prepares to remove garbage from Ebola patients between wings/buildings of the Redemption Hospital which has become a transfer and holding center to intake Ebola patients located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Monrovia that locals call "New Kru Town on Saturday September 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. (Photo by Michel du Cille/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

There is a biological reason for feeling revulsion towards rats, roaches, refuse and other similarly dirt things, according to a new study.

That overpowering feeling of disgust that human beings feel is actually a defense mechanism with six basic triggers that inspire distancing from the sources of potential disease and infection, according to a study published Sunday in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

“Disgust evolved to protect us from disease in our ancient past. The disgust response today may, or may not, be a good guide to what might make us sick today,” Val Curtis, lead author of the study and a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine., told CNN.