Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our biological immune system activates our behavioral immune system.

Viewing disease cues (skin lesions, someone sneezing) leads people to display a heightened biological immune response (for example, stimulated production of cytokine interleukin-6). Miller and Maner now provide evidence for the converse: Activation of the biological immune system promotes activation of the behavioral immune system. Their abstract:
Activation of the behavioral immune system has been shown to promote activation of the biological immune system. The current research tested the hypothesis that activation of the biological immune system (as a result of recent illness) promotes activation of the behavioral immune system. Participants who had recently been ill, and had therefore recently experienced activation of their biological immune system, in one study displayed heightened attention to disfigured individuals, and in a second study showed avoidance — cognitive and behavioral processes reflecting activation of the behavioral immune system. These findings shed light on the interactive nature of biological and psychological mechanisms designed to help people overcome the threat of disease.


  1. Very interesting!
    Behavioral & Biological united means that the Environment and our Intervention can change the response to people.

  2. I predict this could be extended to conclude that healthy people are more supportive of diversity. For example, I predict that the average diversity hating Tea Bagger is older, fatter, more likely to have diabetes and heart disease, etc. than is the average Occupy Wall Streeter type who generally supports diversity.

    From which I conclude if you are a Republican you're best off supporting things that damage the health of your constituents. Destroy the FDA, defund medical research, support genetically modified crops, etc. Conversely a Democrat would be better off doing things to improve public health.

  3. Interesting. Borderlines molecular telepathy.