Monday, April 19, 2010

The Psychological Immune System

We won't get to the immune system for a little while yet, but we will get there this quarter. However I thought this was interesting:

Is it good for your health to see me coughing, sneezing and blowing my runny nose? Believe it or not, recent research suggests that the answer might be: Yes.

Of course, it's not good for your health if I sneeze right into your face. You're better off not being exposed to all those disease-causing microbes in the first place. But if you are exposed to those microbes, your immune system is going to have to fight them off; and it may fight them off more aggressively if you've just been looking at people who look diseased. That's the implication of some new results published by scientists at the University of British Columbia.

Check the full story in Psychology Today - The Psychological Immune System. Why seeing me sneeze makes you healthier for an interview with the authors and the explanation for the picture above. The actual paper, in Psychological Science this month, is available here: Mere Visual Perception of Other People’s Disease Symptoms Facilitates a More Aggressive Immune Response

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