Jeffrey Gassen

Jeffrey Gassen
Baylor University | BU · Department of Anthropology

PhD Experimental Psychology

About

26
Publications
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153
Citations

Publications

Publications (26)
Article
Full-text available
Much research indicates that exposure to early life adversity (ELA) predicts chronic inflammatory activity, increasing one’s risk of developing diseases of aging later in life. Despite its costs, researchers have proposed that chronic inflammation may be favored in this context because it would help promote immunological vigilance in environments w...
Article
Disgust is reasoned to operate in conjunction with the immune system to help protect the body from illness. However, less is known about the factors that impact the degree to which individuals invest in pathogen avoidance (disgust) versus pathogen management (prophylactic immunological activity). Here, we examine the role that one’s control over pa...
Article
It has long been hypothesized that attractiveness provides a cue to a target's health and immunocompetence. However, much of the research testing this hypothesis has relied on a small number of indirect proxies of immune function, and the results of this research have been mixed. Here, we build on this past research, examining the relationship betw...
Article
Decades of research finds associations between personality traits and health. In recent years, it has become clear that the activities of the immune system play a key role in linking these variables. In the current work, we add to this research by exploring the relationship between Big Five personality traits and (Study 1) polymorphisms known to im...
Article
Thermoregulation is a complex, dynamic process involving coordination between multiple autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral mechanisms. In the context of infection, this intricate machinery generates fever, a process believed to serve vital functions in the body's defense against pathogens. In addition to increasing core temperature, infection can...
Article
Despite concern about environmental protection, travelers often underestimate the contribution they may have to disease transmission to other species, as well as the risk of becoming infected themselves. Tourists in general tend to accept more physical risks when traveling than when at home, and much of this can be blamed on the temporary loss of s...
Article
Full-text available
Risk perception and consequently engagement in behaviors to avoid illness often do not match actual risk of infection, morbidity, and mortality. Unrealistic optimism occurs when individuals falsely believe that their personal outcomes will be more favorable than others' in the same risk category. Natural selection could favor overconfidence if its...
Article
Full-text available
Early life stress increases one’s risk for health problems later in life, and many studies find that these effects are sex-differentiated. Here, we examined relationships between multiple sources of early life stress and adult immune function in humans across several functional assays. Adult participants provided retrospective information about the...
Article
Full-text available
It is currently unclear whether early life stress (ELS) affects males and females differently. However, a growing body of work has shown that sex moderates responses to stress and injury, with important insights into sex-specific mechanisms provided by work in rodents. Unfortunately, most of the ELS studies in rodents were conducted only in males,...
Preprint
Full-text available
We examined relationships between multiple sources of early life stress and adult immune function in humans. Adult participants provided retrospective information about their childhood a) socioeconomic status, b) household unpredictability, and c) exposure to adverse experiences. Participants’ peripheral blood mononuclear cells were then isolated f...
Article
Full-text available
Although the criminal justice system is designed around the idea that individuals are invariant in their responses to punishment, research indicates that individuals exhibit a tremendous amount of variability in their punishment sensitivity. This raises the question of why; what are the individual- and situation-level variables that impact a person...
Article
A growing body of research indicates that one's early life experiences may play an important role in regulating patterns of energy intake in adulthood. In particular, adults who grew up under conditions characterized by low socioeconomic status (SES) tend to eat in the absence of hunger (EAH), a pattern that is not generally observed among higher-S...
Article
Full-text available
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 threa...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of research finds that the activities of the immune system—in addition to protecting the body from infection and injury—also influence how we think, feel, and behave. Although research on the relationship between the immune system and psychological and behavioral outcomes has most commonly focused on the experiences of those who are...
Article
Winter is characterized by stressful conditions which compromise health and render animals more vulnerable to infection and illness than during other times of the year. Organisms are hypothesized to adapt to these seasonal stressors by increasing investment in immune function in response to diminished photoperiod duration. Here, we examined this hy...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we propose a novel theoretical model linking present-focused decision-making to the activities of the immune system. We tested our model by examining the relationship between inflammatory activity – in vivo and in vitro – and decision-making characterized by impulsivity, present focus, and an inability to delay gratification. Results support...
Article
Abstract: Although frequently characterized as undesirable, risk-taking is an integral part of human social life. Research into the factors that influence risk-taking therefore represents an important area of study in the evolutionary sciences. The current research draws from research on humans’ pathogen avoidance psychology, life history theory, a...
Article
Full-text available
The human menstrual cycle is characterized by substantial variability both within and between women. Here, we sought to account for such variability by examining whether human menstrual cycle frequency varies as a function of the projected fitness payoffs associated with investment in mating effort. We used structural equation modeling to test the...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we present a mechanistically grounded theory detailing a novel function of the behavioral immune system (BIS), the psychological system that prompts pathogen avoidance behaviors. We propose that BIS activity allows the body to downregulate basal inflammation, preventing resultant oxidative damage to DNA and promoting longevity. Study 1 invest...
Article
Pepper & Nettle's theory of the behavioral constellation of deprivation (BCD) would benefit from teasing apart the conceptually distinct – although related – constructs of predictability and control. Our commentary draws from prior research conducted in the learning domain to demonstrate that predictability moderates the effects of control and inde...

Projects

Project (1)