Testing the domain-specificity of the disease-avoidance and self-protection systems

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An emerging body of literature suggests that humans likely have multiple threat avoidance systems that enable us to detect and avoid threats in our environment, such as disease threats and

An emerging body of literature suggests that humans likely have multiple threat avoidance systems that enable us to detect and avoid threats in our environment, such as disease threats and physical safety threats. These systems are presumed to be domain-specific, each handling one class of potential threats, and previous research generally supports this assumption. Previous research has not, however, directly tested the domain-specificity of disease avoidance and self-protection by showing that activating one threat management system does not lead to responses consistent only with a different threat management system. Here, the domain- specificity of the disease avoidance and self-protection systems is directly tested using the lexical decision task, a measure of stereotype accessibility, and the implicit association test. Results, although inconclusive, more strongly support a series of domain-specific threat management systems than a single, domain- general system