Experimentally-Induced Inflammation Predicts Present Focus

Abstract

Objective

Here, we provide an experimental test of the relationship between levels of proinflammatory cytokines and present-focused decision-making.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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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Fig. 1

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Funding

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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Correspondence to Jeffrey Gassen.

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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

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Keywords

  • Inflammation
  • Life history theory
  • Temporal focus
  • Cytokines
  • Impulsivity