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Weaving a tangled web: The psychology of deception and self deception in psychogenic pain

By Timothy L. Bayer


Accounting for the unusual economy of secondary gain or reinforcement, understanding abnormal illness behavior and evaluating for the role of the unconscious and primary gain are three important problems which complicate the understanding of psychogenic pain. These problems might be addressed in part by an examination of the experimental studies of the social psychology of deception of self and others. The forced compliance situation, in which subjects who lie for a certain level of compensation persist in telling the lie in other settings, is one of the best studied of these experimental situations. Ways in which this experimental work might apply to problems in understanding pain patients are explored. Possible applications of this research to treatment are discussed along with areas for further research.

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