The year is 2012. Keely Muscatell sits on a slipcovered couch in her dingy L.A. apartment. A Ph.D. student at UCLA, she opens her laptop to check her email and scrolls through her inbox until she finds what she’s looking for — the results of a psychology experiment that would make or break her dissertation. Her cheeks grow warm, her heart quickens, and she sucks in her breath.
This moment isn’t all that different from the experiences she’s studying: how social stressors show up physically in the body. More specifically, she wants to know if negative social experiences lead to an increase in inflammation.Full story