Tybur JM, Jones BC, DeBruine LM, Ackerman J & Fasolt V (2020). Preregistered replication of “Sick body, vigilant mind: The biological immune system activates the behavioral immune system”. Psychological Science . doi: 10.1177/0956797620955209 [preprint] [data] [prereg]

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 finds that recently ill participants – who 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 manuscript reports a direct replication of this study using a sample of 402 individuals from the University of Michigan, the University of Glasgow, and VU Amsterdam – over four times the sample size of the original study. No effect of illness recency on attentional bias for disfigured faces emerged. Though not supporting the original finding, this replication provides suggestions for future directions for research on the psychological underpinnings of pathogen avoidance.

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