Psychoneuroimmunology: a bio-psycho-social approach to health and disease

Scand J Psychol. 2009 Dec;50(6):645-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2009.00779.x.


Since the early 1980s, the interdisciplinary field of psychoneuroimmunology has explored the complex bi-directional interactions between brain, behavior, and the immune system. Taken together, this research has expanded the limits of the questions we can ask about the organism by challenging the biomedical paradigm of the immune system as predominantly "autonomous". Psychoneuroimmunology has played a key role in establishing a biological basis for the ancient idea that the mind can play a role in health and disease. This article describes the development of psychoneuroimmunology and reviews a number of key findings concerning psychological phenomena of potential relevance to understanding brain-behavior-immune interactions, including learning, emotions, stress, and the role of sensory processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Psychoneuroimmunology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology