Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Disease Avoidance

  • Justin H. ParkEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2971-1



Behavioral disease-avoidance processes help animals maintain safe distances from sources of contagious disease, thereby reducing the need for physiological immune responses.


Threats to survival have been a major driving force in evolution, shaping a wide range of specialized defensive adaptations. Some of the threats come in the form of the many hazards in the physical environment. Other, perhaps more potent threats come in the form of exploitation by other organisms. Predators are an obvious example, as are other members of the species competing for limited resources. Although less conspicuous than typical predators, tiny organisms that infiltrate larger organisms and cause somatic damage have posed a recurrent and pernicious threat. These tiny organisms include microbes such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, as well as relatively larger organisms such...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BristolBristolUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Justin H. Park
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BristolBristolUK