Abstract # 32:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 02:45 PM-03:05 PM: Session 4 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Symposium


J. Capitanio
University of California, Davis, California National Primate Research Center, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Individuals differ from each other in their typical patterns of response to emotional stimuli and in their prevailing mood, and within individuals, these patterns are relatively consistent over time and situation. Greek and Roman physicians proposed that particular temperaments are associated with health and disease outcomes, and research in psychoneuroimmunology has identified mechanisms that might explain such associations. Using studies conducted with rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), we describe two approaches to understanding temperament and health. One idea is that some individuals are simply “built differently” from others, and their responses (behavioral and physiological) to events reflect fundamental differences in anatomy and physiology. A second (and not unrelated) idea is that temperament affects health through its contribution to coping; a bad “fit” between the organism’s characteristics and the challenges presented by its environment can lead to stress, with attendant consequences for immunity and health. Studies examining asthma, AIDS, and colitis will illustrate the role that individual variation in emotionality can have on health outcomes.