Scientists might have uncovered what makes the word moist feel so unsatisfying in your ears.
PLOS One in a study found that around 18 percent of people have a “categorical aversion” to the word “moist.”
Here’s what IFLScience add to say about it.
“Paul Thibodeau, a cognitive psychologist from Oberlin College, considered three different hypotheses for why the word makes so many people’s skin crawl. These possible explanations were the sound of the word, the word’s connotation, and the social transmission of the idea that the word is disgusting.
Within a series of five experiments, Thibodeau investigated American English-speaking participants’ opinion of the word “moist,” among other words. These included words related to bodily function (such as phlegm, puke, and vomit), clusters of words related to sex (such as f*ck, horny, and p*ssy), and words that sounded similar to “moist” (such as foist, hoist, and rejoiced).
His study found that people who said they were averse to the word “moist” often pointed to the sound of the word as the source of their disgust. People who weren’t averse to the word said it was its connotations to sex. However, people who didn’t like the word had no problem with similar-sounding words.
The study found that people who identified as categorically averse to “moist” also found words such as “phlegm” and “vomit” more aversive, although not words such as “vagina,” “horny,” or “penis.” This suggests that the word’s association with bodily fluid is a strong reason for why it is so gross to so many people.”