Common and distinct neurofunctional representations of core and social disgust in the brain: Coordinate-based and network meta-analyses

Xianyang Gan, Xinqi Zhou, Jialin Li, Guojuan Jiao, Xi Jiang, Bharat Biswal, Shuxia Yao, Benjamin Klugah-Brown, Benjamin Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Disgust represents a multifaceteddefensive-avoidanceresponse. On the behavioral level, the response includes withdrawal and a disgust-specific facial expression. While both serve the avoidance of pathogens, the latter additionally transmits social-communicative information. Given that common and distinct brain representation of the primary defensive-avoidance response (core disgust) and encoding of the social-communicative signal (social disgust) remain debated, we employed neuroimaging meta-analyses to (1) determine brain systems generally engaged in disgust processing, and (2) segregate common and distinct brain systems for core and social disgust. Disgust processing, in general, engaged a bilateral network encompassing the insula, amygdala, occipital and prefrontal regions. Core disgust evoked stronger reactivity in left-lateralized threat detection and defensive response network including amygdala, occipital and frontal regions, while social disgust engaged a right-lateralized superior temporal-frontal network involved in social cognition. Anterior insula, inferior frontal and fusiform regions were commonly engaged during core and social disgust, suggesting a shared neurofunctional basis. We demonstrate a common and distinct neural basis of primary disgust responses and encoding of associated social-communicative signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104553
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Activation likelihood estimation (ALE)
  • Amygdala
  • Defensive-avoidance response
  • Disgust
  • FMRI
  • Face
  • Insula
  • Meta-analysis
  • Meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM)
  • Social cognition


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