Pain is a highly subjective sensation of inherent behavioral importance and is therefore expected to receive enhanced processing in relevant brain regions. We show that painful stimuli induce high-frequency oscillations in the electrical activity of the human primary somatosensory cortex. Amplitudes of these pain-induced gamma oscillations were more closely related to the subjective perception of pain than to the objective stimulus attributes. They correlated with participants' ratings of pain and were stronger for laser stimuli that caused pain, compared with the same stimuli when no pain was perceived. These findings indicate that gamma oscillations may represent an important mechanism for processing behaviorally relevant sensory information
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