Design for disgust – critical design research project
Disgust is a strong human emotion also referred to as a guardian of the mouth. Its main function is to protect us from pathogens and poisons that could be harmful or even life-threatening. Despite its strong influence, especially in the context of food, we know very little about the way disgust works and how we experience it in different situations.
The use of (moral) disgust to change people’s behaviour has been criticised and past examples show that it can cause unanticipated side effects. A distinct understanding of disgust and potential issues it could raise is therefore needed. I specifically see a role for critical and speculative designers in this context. These kinds of designs can help prompt a discussion to identify ways that might be appropriate when used in a particular context.
As part of this research project, I developed three different critical design concepts to illustrate different ways of using disgust as part of food designs. One concept focuses on the use of disgust to influence one’s eating behaviour, and two on purchasing specific food items. We believe that disgust can also be used to attract attention despite being primarily seen as an emotion that makes people avoid certain items.
The research publication about this project can be found here: LINK