Here, we provide an experimental test of the relationship between levels of proinflammatory cytokines and present-focused decision-making.
We examined whether increases in salivary levels of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β and interleukin-6) engendered by visually priming immunologically-relevant threats (pathogen threat, physical harm) and opportunities (mating) predicted temporal discounting, a key component of present-focused decision-making.
As hypothesized, results revealed that each experimental manipulation led to a significant rise in both salivary interleukin-1β and interleukin-6. Moreover, post-manipulation levels of each cytokine independently predicted temporal discounting across conditions. These results were not moderated by pre-manipulation levels of either cytokine, nor were they found using the difference between pre- and post-manipulation levels of cytokines as a predictor.
Together, these results suggest that levels of proinflammatory cytokines may play a mechanistic role in the desire for immediately available rewards.
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This project was supported by two National Science Foundation awards: BCS #1551201 awarded to S. E. Hill and BCS #1227089 awarded to J. K. Maner and L. A. Eckel.
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Gassen, J., Makhanova, A., Maner, J.K. et al. Experimentally-Induced Inflammation Predicts Present Focus. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology 5, 148–163 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-019-00110-7
- Life history theory
- Temporal focus