Mere Visual Perception of Other People's Disease Symptoms Facilitates a More Agressive Immune Response

  • Schaller M
  • Miller G
  • Gervais W
 et al. 
  • 48


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • N/A


    Citations of this article.


An experiment (N = 28) tested the hypothesis that the mere visual perception of disease-connoting cues promotes a more aggressive immune response. Participants were exposed either to photographs depicting symptoms of infectious disease or to photographs depicting guns. After incubation with a model bacterial stimulus, participants' white blood cells produced higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the infectious-disease condition, compared with the control (guns) condition. These results provide the first empirical evidence that visual perception of other people's symptoms may cause the immune system to respond more aggressively to infection. Adaptive origins and functional implications are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 09
  • 11
  • 30
  • disease
  • health
  • immunity
  • people sensitive
  • perception
  • potential
  • received 9
  • revision accepted 10
  • threat
  • visual stimuli connoting

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in


  • Mark Schaller

  • Gregory E Miller

  • Will M Gervais

  • Sarah Yager

  • Edith Chen

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free