Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Makhanova, Anastasia

Committee Member/Reader

Lessner, Daniel

Committee Member/Second Reader

Bailey, Tameka

Committee Member/Third Reader

Thallapuranam, Suresh


Immune system inflammation is associated with sickness behavior, depressive mood, and alteration of decision-making processes. Because of these cognitive effects, inflammation may also lead to increased use of heuristics, for example the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). In the current research, inflammation was experimentally increased using the influenza vaccine, with participants receiving either the vaccine or a placebo injection and completing a measure that tests for the FAE. There were no significant differences between the two conditions regarding the number of personal, situational, or overall attributions made by the participants in the measure that would indicate use of the FAE. However, exploratory correlational analyses found that participants who were more concerned about COVID-19 were more likely to make personal attributions, which are indicative of the FAE. Future research should be conducted to establish a stronger link between inflammation and heuristic use.


influenza vaccine, cytokines, inflammation, social perception, social behavior, decision-making