It’s a question often wondered about: Why do people hate the word “moist?” and researchers have figured out the logical reason behind it.
Researchers from Oberlin College and Trinity University published a study called “An Exploratory Investigation of Word Aversion,” which discovered that it wasn’t the actual sound of the word that made people shrink away, but the fact that most associate the word with “disgusting bodily functions,” E! Online has reported.
The results of three experiments represented a novel exploratory effort to better understand the cognitive underpinnings of word aversion.
The results suggested that as many as 20 percent of the population might be averse to “moist” and that such an aversion was related to age, neuroticism, and a particular kind of disgust: to bodily functions (and not phonological features of the word.)
This work revealed that averse words might be similar to well-studied lexical categories like taboo and disgusting words.
The findings contributed to a growing literature on the processing of highly valenced and arousing words.