Sociality and Sickness: Have Cytokines Evolved to Serve Social Functions Beyond Times of Pathogen Exposure?
During pathogen exposure or some forms of stress, proinflammatory processes induce an array of motivated and behavioral adjustments termed “sickness behaviors”. Although withdrawal from social interactions is a commonly observed sickness behavior, the relation between social behavior and sickness is much more complex. Sickness can suppress or stimulate social behavior. Sickness can serve as a social cue. Stressors that are social in nature can induce sickness behaviors, and sickness behavior can be readily suppressed by meaningful social stimuli. The nature, context, and timing of these effects together suggest that cytokine-induced behavior may play a role in mediating social interactions in various non-pathological conditions.
Hennessy, M. B.,
& Schiml, P. A.
(2013). Sociality and Sickness: Have Cytokines Evolved to Serve Social Functions Beyond Times of Pathogen Exposure?. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.