The immune system plays an important role in decision making preferences

Among the variables that impact the risks and costs associated with waiting for later rewards is the internal, physical condition of the body. When healthy, we are less in need of immediate resources to manage a metabolically costly response to infection, injury, or disease. We are more likely to survive into the future to realize delayed rewards. Though, when sick, current energy demands are higher, and the future is relatively less certain.

When having inflammation (thyroid inflammation as by Hashimoto’s patients) both resource need and mortality risk are elevated. As a consequence scientists claim that inflammation should increase the desire for immediately available resources.

Scholars examined the role of signaling by the immune system in individuals’ preferences for immediate versus delayed rewards. When the cells of the immune system detect infectious agents or cellular distress, they release signaling proteins, e.g. proinflammatory cytokines, which coordinate biological events that help prevent or clear infections and heal injuries. In addition to coordinating the activities of the immune cells themselves (e.g., white blood cells), cytokines also influence the activities of the nervous system. For example, cytokines orchestrate sickness behaviour, the constellation of physical, psychological, and behavioural changes – such as anhedonia, diminished foraging, and social avoidance – that occur in the context of an acute immune response, in order to mitigate bodily damage from infection and conserve energy for use in immunological defence. Besides, research suggests that inflammation also promotes psychological shifts that increase one’s sensitivity to cues of potential threats and opportunities in the environment when the body is in poor condition. Other studies have found that inflammation also has important implications for social perception. Specifically, increase in inflammation leads to greater neural sensitivity to negative social experiences, such as social rejection and socially-threatening stimuli, as well as to positive social experiences, such as pictures of support figures.

Current study found key initial support for the hypothesis that inflammation – even at sub-clinical levels in healthy participants – may promote decision-making characterized by impulsivity, present focus, and an inability to delay gratification. Furthermore, inflammatory activity may impair self-regulation. Being prone to inflammation (something that is observed among those who have experienced early adverse events), may not itself fate an individual to subsequent present-focused decision-making. Instead, interventions targeted at reducing circulating levels of proinflammatory cytokines may sever the link between an individual’s propensity to inflammation and undesirable behaviours, improving outcomes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The current research shows that the activities of the immune system play a key role in the development of decision-making strategies characterized by impulsivity, present focus, and an inability to delay gratification.

Many Hashimoto’s share that they do have a strong intention to keep to their movement and eating plan. Thought at the end it didn’t work out and they fell in vicious circle of doing their utmost, fall to keep the promises, feeling ashamed and losing motivation to keep trying.

Are you struggling to delay gratification and impulsivity?



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