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What Grosses You Out?

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If I find a hair in my food, I freak out. Like, gasping and gagging and other generally outrageous reactions will ensue. Ever since I was little, hair in food has been #1 on the list of things I find completely disgusting, which also includes naked mole rats, the smell of eggs, and the word “buffet.” A few days ago NPR did an interview with Rachel Herz, the author of a new book called “That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion,” and it turns out the things that repulse us are determined by a number of factors, many of them cultural. Cheese, for example, is a staple of the western diet but in some cultures it’s considered to be the equivalent of cow excrement. Apparently we learn to be grossed out by certain things, and, conversely, we can learn to be not grossed out by certain things. So let’s talk about the things that trigger our personal “yuck!” reflex. What grosses you out? Is there anything that used to gross you out that doesn’t anymore? [NPR]

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