Women’s psychology of disease avoidance
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The following will explore how physiological states influence measures of disease avoidance. The first two studies investigate the psychological effects of progesterone and immunomodulation to behaviors relevant to disease avoidance. In the first study, I investigated the effect of menstrual phase on disgust sensitivity and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptomology finding that in periods of high estimated progesterone women show increased disgust sensitivity and OCD symptomology. In the second study I used salivary assays to measure progesterone and correlate progesterone level with a variety of measures of disease avoidance. In the final study I investigated how sexual arousal, a motivational state that moves an organism closer to potential disease vectors and disgust, an emotion that motivates organisms away from disease vectors, mitigate one another using image ratings and an objective measure of physiological sexual arousal, vaginal photoplethysmography.