Dr. Bunmi Olatunji
Vanderbilt University

The Psychopathology of Disgust: An RDoC Approach

RDoC is a research framework that integrates many levels of information to explore basic dimensions of functioning that span the full range of human behavior from normal to abnormal. The RDoC framework focuses on six major domains of human functioning, one of which is the Negative Valence Systems (NVS). Although the NVS of RDoC is largely focused on fear, anxiety, and loss, a growing body of research highlights the complex, powerful, and potentially persistent role of disgust in various disorders. Drawing from this body of research, I will discuss how disgust may also align with the RDoC approach. This talk will highlight how the measurement of disgust can be made using different classes of variables, or units of analysis. Descriptive and experimental data addressing the specificity of the relationship between disgust and various disorders will be presented. The present studies incorporating both cross-sectional and experimental approaches highlight that the disgust-disorder relation is robust. Preliminary evidence on how this line of research may inform exposure-based treatment of disgust in various disorders will also be offered and future directions of this program of research are discussed.