Psychophysiology: Happy people get colds less often

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Psychophysiology: Happy people get colds less often
Psychophysiology: Happy people get colds less often

Lucky people get colds less often

A positive mental attitude minimizes the risk of contracting an infectious disease. This connection has now been confirmed by physicians from the University of Pittsburgh in tests on almost 200 subjects who voluntarily sprayed themselves with cold viruses in the experiment. The scientists had previously classified the candidates' general standard of living in standardized tests. After contact with the virus, significantly more people who had previously been attested a neutral or negative “emotional attitude to life” developed cold symptoms, report the researchers led by Sheldon Cohen.

In earlier studies with a similar question, it had not yet been clarified whether "lucky people" actually get sick less often or whether they only subjectively perceive the symptoms of a disease less strongly and describe them less dramatically. Cohen's team therefore determined the measurable symptoms of a stuffy nose and the self-diagnosis of the subjects. It turned out that those who were positive developed less severe symptoms of the disease overall, but at the same time tended to classify them as generally less severe than they were objectively.

In the study, the decisive criterion for defense against the virus was clearly the previously assessed feeling of happiness. Other factors such as pre-test he alth, gender, age, time of year, level of education or body weight, self-esteem, or extroversion had no effect. According to the researchers, even people with a negative attitude did not fall ill more often than candidates classified as neutral. So while being happy protects against a cold, being unhappy does no harm at least when fighting a cold. (yo)

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