Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsMedicine · 1 decade ago

What is it in humans that cause such revulsion in seeing the inside of the human body?

Most people are sickend by blood or gore, and they think it "gross" to see the organs of the human body or excessive blood. Most would never think of observing a surgery or an autopsy. What is it in the human psyche that causes this reaction? I work in the medical field, and this stuff has never really bothered me. I don't particularly like gore for gore's sake, but I have been called upon from time-to-time to see it, and I always thought the human body was fascinating. Any thoughts or comments? Legitimate answers, only, please. Let's hear from doctors, psychologists, psychaitrists - not the Marilyn Manson "Goth" types out there. I would like this treated as a legitimate medical inquiry. Thanks.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hmm... good question. I'm training to be a doctor and like a lot of medical students had to grow accustom to the idea of dissecting cadevers and handling bodily fluids. With repeated exposure, this sort of work is no longer a problem for me, my brain is prepared and capable of coping with, possibly, even the goriest of scenes. If it had not been for medical school I would probably get through my entire life without seeing, say, a dead body or an amputated leg. The same goes with the majority of my class mates.

    I doubt it has much to do with reminding us of our mortality. When I was squeamish, many years ago, the last thing I thought about was death whenever I saw a cut finger with blooding oozing from it. I just didn't like slimy things.

  • 1 decade ago

    One reason may be an instinctive fear response. Our earliest ancestors would see blood and guts only when someone was badly injured or killed so the sight was always associated with danger.

    Of course in classic times blood and gore were part of mass entertainment (see ancient Rome.) and executions by hanging drawing and quartering were attended by large crowds until a few centuries ago.

    Perhaps modern revulsion is a reaction to those times. We reject the notion that blood and guts can or should be entertaining. Very few of us raise and slaughter our own meat any more. We think we are more civilized being so. Our parents often discourage us from playing with slimy critters like frogs and snails and we carry that attitude to adulthood.

    I remember being taken by my parents to see cows and hogs slaughtered in the Chicago stock yards. They had a tour. Now many meat packing plants work behind locked gates and won't let the public see anything for fear of negative publicity.

    Many people are just too sheltered from the realities of life and death and thus become easily grossed out when confronted with blood and guts whether in person or in images.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I once was a detective in a police department and had to attend autopsies to retrieve evidence. Our pathologist made each autopsy a lesson on anatomy. I was totally fascinated - how each organ fit, how it functioned, the damage we can do to our bodies. It amazed me how a uterus that is paper thin could protect a baby for nine months. Even bodies that had been burned beyond recognition told a story. I never felt revulsion - each body on the table was once a living being with hopes and dreams, and now - for me - information. I did get a bit queasy once when I had to go to a baby autopsy. I never expected it to be so much more difficult to see as compared to an adult. But it was.

  • 1 decade ago

    I believe it reminds people that they are in fact immortal. I am a pre-med student, and I also find the human body fascinating. I think some people find the idea that we are simply a myriad of tissues frightening, as well as the fact that our thoughts and personality are simply chemical reactions and electrical impulses. To see a body in this state, such as an autopsy, reminds people that we are vulnerable, susceptible, and a complex organism broken down into simple structures in a transient existence.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am not revulsed, in fact people taste like chicken

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