Association For Psychological ScienceThis news deals with psychological implications of seeing sick people. A study claims that by simply looking at ill people is seemingly enough to make one’s immune system work harder. This could aid in warding off pathogens. This was mentioned by Mark Schaller from the University of British Columbia who carried out the study.

Preceding study had apparently discovered that when people look at someone who appears ill, they may have a psychological reaction i.e. they could feel appalled and would want to stay away. Schaller, Gregory E. Miller, Will M. Gervais, Sarah Yager, and Edith Chen, all at the University of British Columbia, seemingly wished to go one step farther, to observe if seeing sick people could also impact how the immune system itself functions.

Schaller commented, “It seems like it’s probably good for the immune system to be responding especially aggressively at times when it looks like you are likely to be coming into contact with something that might make you sick.”

Subjects were displayed two 10-minute slide shows on two separate days. The first one was said to be a neutral slide show, with images of furniture. The second was apparently one of two choices, a disease slide show exhibiting people suffering from pox, blowing their noses, sneezing, and so forth, or a slide show containing guns. Before and after the slide shows, a blood sample was supposedly extracted from every participant. A little bacteria was supposedly included to the blood sample, then the experts gauged the power of the immune reaction, particularly, how much interleukin-6 immune cells were generated.

People who observed the images of people sneezing, coughing, or otherwise displaying indications of disease apparently had a more powerful immune response as compared to those people who had seen photos of men pointing guns at them. This type of reaction to the sight of diseased people could have been evolutionarily adaptive.

Even though an aggressive immune response encompasses infection-fighting benefits, it uses up energy and may be momentarily weakening. It could have been adaptive for the immune system to respond particularly aggressive when supplementary information signifies that the danger of infection seems high.

The study was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.