Preregistered direct replication of "Sick body, vigilant mind: the biological immune system activates the behavioral immune system"

Joshua M. Tybur, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, Joshua M. Ackerman, Vanessa Fasolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The tendency to attend to and avoid cues to pathogens varies across individuals and contexts. Researchers have proposed that this variation is partially driven by immunological vulnerability to infection, though support for this hypothesis is equivocal. One key piece of evidence (Miller & Maner, 2011) shows that participants who have recently been ill—and hence may have a reduced ability to combat subsequent infection—allocate more attention to faces with infectious-disease cues than do participants who have not recently been ill. The current article describes a direct replication of this study using a sample of 402 individuals from the University of Michigan, the University of Glasgow, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam—more than 4 times the sample size of the original study. No effect of illness recency on attentional bias for disfigured faces emerged. Though it did not support the original finding, this replication provides suggestions for future research on the psychological underpinnings of pathogen avoidance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1469
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number11
Early online date20 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • attention
  • disgust
  • evolutionary psychology
  • health
  • open data
  • preregistered
  • threat

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