That headline might not sound like the basis for scientific study, but it actually makes up a large part of the work of Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University’s business school.

Fitzsimons described the “Yuck Factor” for participants in today’s John Locke Foundation Shaftesbury Society luncheon.

In brief, the Yuck Factor involves our unconscious transfer of the disgusting properties of one product to other products it touches. For example, people disgusted by feminine hygiene products might be less likely to eat a cookie ? if a package of feminine hygiene products has touched the package that contained the cookie. This Yuck Factor has an impact, even though people know on a conscious level that the products were separated by packaging.

4:14 p.m. update: Watch the entire speech here.