GERMS ON OUR MIND: The Psychology of Contagion

LeAnna DeAngelo
New Academia Publishing, 2005
203 Pages
ISBN 0-9767042-5-0 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

LeAnna DeAngelo, Ph.D., is a research health psychologist. She focuses on psychological aspects of contagion and environmental psychology, and is a co-investigator on an NIH grant entitled “Interpersonal Influence and Placebo/Nocebo Effects.” She has been a psychotherapist, and a lecturer and adjunct professor of psychology at William Jewell College, Arizona State University, and the University of Denver. She resides in Colorado with her husband and son.

About the book

People are intrigued by the underpinnings of how and why germs play an exceptionally important role in our interpersonal lives. Our beliefs about contagion have the capacity to change the human condition, either for better or for worse. What if the real power of germs lay not in medical and technological advances, but in our attitudes about them? Will human be able to live harmoniously with germs, or will our attempts to ameliorate them ultimately destroy us? This book explores all of these issues from the prosaic―such as handwashing―to the profound―such as germ warfare. With a multidisciplinary, empirical approach, Germs on Our Mind delves into the psychological, cultural, religious, anthropological, and medical perspectives on the ubiquitous presence of germs.


“Germs on the Mind is a fascinating exploration of our attitudes toward the invisible world of microbes and contagion, and how these beliefs were formed and are sustained. DeAngelo shows that we are hardly the rational creatures we fancy ourselves to be where germs are concerned, but are motivated by fantasy and superstition in addition to the logic of science. We should pay close attention to this important book, because our beliefs about germs are not trivial; they literally can make the difference in life and death.”
– Larry Dossey, MD, author of The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary ThingsReinventing Medicine; and Healing Words.

“This book covers a fascinating and important topic and has no real competitors. The final effect of the book is to make the reader think very differently about germs and the multiple levels—biological, psychological, and sociocultural—in which they influence our lives.”
– Carol J. Nemeroff, Associate Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University.