8 research outputs found

    The Influence of Executive Functioning on Facial and Subjective Pain Responses in Older Adults

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    Cognitive decline is known to reduce reliability of subjective pain reports. Although facial expressions of pain are generally considered to be less affected by this decline, empirical support for this assumption is sparse. The present study therefore examined how cognitive functioning relates to facial expressions of pain and whether cognition acts as a moderator between nociceptive intensity and facial reactivity. Facial and subjective responses of 51 elderly participants to mechanical stimulation at three intensities levels (50‚ÄČkPa, 200‚ÄČkPa, and 400‚ÄČkPa) were assessed. Moreover, participants completed a neuropsychological examination of executive functioning (planning, cognitive inhibition, and working memory), episodic memory, and psychomotor speed. The results showed that executive functioning has a unique relationship with facial reactivity at low pain intensity levels (200‚ÄČkPa). Moreover, cognitive inhibition (but not other executive functions) moderated the effect of pressure intensity on facial pain expressions, suggesting that the relationship between pressure intensity and facial reactivity was less pronounced in participants with high levels of cognitive inhibition. A similar interaction effect was found for cognitive inhibition and subjective pain report. Consequently, caution is needed when interpreting facial (as well as subjective) pain responses in individuals with a high level of cognitive inhibition

    The Influence of Executive Functioning on Facial and Subjective Pain Responses in Older Adults

    No full text
    Cognitive decline is known to reduce reliability of subjective pain reports. Although facial expressions of pain are generally considered to be less affected by this decline, empirical support for this assumption is sparse.The present study therefore examined how cognitive functioning relates to facial expressions of pain and whether cognition acts as a moderator between nociceptive intensity and facial reactivity. Facial and subjective responses of 51 elderly participants tomechanical stimulation at three intensities levels (50 kPa, 200 kPa, and 400 kPa) were assessed. Moreover, participants completed a neuropsychological examination of executive functioning (planning, cognitive inhibition, and working memory), episodic memory, and psychomotor speed. The results showed that executive functioning has a unique relationship with facial reactivity at low pain intensity levels (200 kPa). Moreover, cognitive inhibition (but not other executive functions) moderated the effect of pressure intensity on facial pain expressions, suggesting that the relationship between pressure intensity and facial reactivity was less pronounced in participants with high levels of cognitive inhibition. A similar interaction effect was found for cognitive inhibition and subjective pain report. Consequently, caution is needed when interpreting facial (as well as subjective) pain responses in individuals with a high level of cognitive inhibition.status: publishe

    Trial and Error (-Related Negativity):An Odyssey of Integrating Different Experimental Paradigms

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    Pain can be considered as a signal of ‚Äúbodily error‚ÄĚ: Errors ‚Äď discrepancies between the actual and optimal/targeted state ‚Äď can put organisms at danger and activate behavioral defensive systems. If the error relates to the body, pain is the warning signal that motivates protective action such as avoidance behavior to safeguard our body‚Äôs integrity. Hence, pain shares the functionality of errors. On the neural level, an important error processing component is the error-related negativity (ERN), a negative deflection in the electroencephalographic (EEG) signal generated primarily in the anterior cingulate cortex within 100 ms a er error commission. Despite compelling evidence that the ERN plays an important role in the development of various psychopathologies and is implicated in learning and adjustment of behavior, its relation to pain-related avoidance has not yet been examined. Based on findings from anxiety research, it seems conceivable that individuals with elevated ERN amplitudes are more prone to engage in pain-related avoidance behavior, which may, under certain conditions, be a risk factor for developing chronic pain. Consequently, this newline of research promises to contribute to our understanding of human pain. As in most novel research areas, a first crucial step for integrating the scientific fields of ERN and pain is developing a paradigm suited to address the needs from both fields. The present manuscript presents the development and piloting of an experimental task measuring both ERN and avoidance behavior in response to painful mistakes, as well as the challenges encountered herein. A total of 12 participants underwent one of six different task versions. We describe in detail each of these versions, including their results, shortcomings, our solutions, and subsequent steps. Finally,we provide some advice for researchers aiming at developing novel paradigms

    Modulating pain thresholds through classical conditioning

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    Background Classical conditioning has frequently been shown to be capable of evoking fear of pain and avoidance behavior in the context of chronic pain. However, whether pain itself can be conditioned has rarely been investigated and remains a matter of debate. Therefore, the present study investigated whether pain threshold ratings can be modified by the presence of conditioned non-nociceptive sensory stimuli in healthy participant. Methods In 51 healthy volunteers, pain threshold to electrocutaneous stimuli was determined prior to participation in a simultaneous conditioning paradigm. Participants underwent an acquisition phase in which one non-painful vibrotactile stimulus (CS+) was repeatedly paired with a painful electrocutaneous stimulus, whereas a second vibrotactile stimulus of the same quality and intensity (CS‚ąí) was paired with a non-painful electrocutaneous stimulus. Stimulation was provided on the lower back with close proximity between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus. In the test phase, electrocutaneous stimuli at the individually-set threshold intensity were simultaneously delivered together with either a CS+ or CS‚ąí. Pain intensity ratings were obtained after each trial; expectancy ratings were obtained after each block. The primary outcome was the percentage of test stimuli that were rated as painful. Results Test stimuli were more likely to be rated as painful when they were paired with the CS+ than when they were paired with the CS‚ąí. This effect was not influenced by contingency awareness, nor by expectancies or mood states. Discussion The findings support the notion that the judgement of an event being painful or non-painful can be influenced by classical conditioning and corroborate the possible role of associative learning in the development and maintenance of chronic pain.status: Published onlin

    Error Processing and Pain: A New Perspective

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    Errors put organisms in danger. Upon error commission, error processing allows for the updating of behavior that proved ineffective in light of the current context and goals, and for the activation of behavioral defensive systems. Pain, on the other hand, signals actual or potential danger to one's physical integrity and, likewise, motivates protective behavior. These parallels suggest the existence of cross-links between pain and error processing but so far their relationship remains elusive. In this review, we tie together findings from the field of pain research with those from electroencephalography studies on error processing [specifically the Error Related Negativity (ERN) and Positivity (Pe)]. More precisely, we discuss three plausible associations: Firstly, pain may enhance error processing as it increases error salience. Secondly, persons fearful of pain may be particularly vigilant towards painful errors and thus show a stronger neural response to them. Thirdly, the ERN as a component of the neural response to error commission is considered an endophenotype of threat sensitivity. As high sensitivity to pain threats is known to incite avoidance behavior, this raises the intriguing possibility that neural signatures of error processing predict pain-related protective behaviors, such as avoidance. We propose an integration of these findings into a common framework to inspire future research. Perspectives Inspired by research in anxiety disorders, we discuss the potential bi-directional relationships between error processing and pain, and identify future directions to examine the neural and psychological processes involved in acute and chronic pain and respective avoidance behavior

    General versus pain‚Äźspecific cognitions: Pain catastrophizing but not optimism influences conditioned pain modulation

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    Background: Previous studies found evidence that dispositional optimism is related to lower pain sensitivity. Recent findings suggest that temporarily increasing optimism by means of imagining a positive future may also have pain‚Äźalleviating effects. Objectives: The present experiment was designed to investigate conditioned pain modulation (CPM) as a potential underlying mechanism of this pain‚Äźalleviating effect of induced optimism. Methods: For this purpose, 45 healthy participants were randomized into an optimistic or neutral imagery condition. Additionally, participants completed questionnaires on dispositional optimism, pain catastrophizing and pain expectations. CPM was assessed by delivering a series of five heat pain stimuli on the nondominant hand before and during immersion of the dominant hand in water of 5¬įC for 70 s. Results: A clear CPM effect was found, that is heat pain reports were lower during simultaneous cold water stimulation. Although the optimism manipulation successfully increased optimism, it did not affect pain ratings or CPM. Post hoc analyses indicated that dispositional optimism was not associated with the magnitude of CPM, but pain catastrophizing and pain expectations did significantly correlate with the CPM effect. Conclusion: Pain‚Äźspecific but not general cognitions appear to influence endogenous pain modulation. Significance: Conditioned pain modulation is not the underlying mechanism of the pain‚Äźalleviating effects of induced optimism. However, pain‚Äźspecific cognitions including pain catastrophizing and pain expectations affect endogenous pain modulation which should be taken into account in treatment and CPM research
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