96 research outputs found

    Pain by mistake:investigating a link between error-related negativity and pain avoidance behavior

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    ABSTRACT: Pain can be considered as a signal of "bodily error": Errors put organisms at danger and activate behavioral defensive systems. If the error is of physical nature, pain is the warning signal that motivates protective action such as avoidance behavior to safeguard our body's integrity. Interestingly, an important component of neural error processing, the error-related negativity (ERN), has been found to be related to avoidance in anxiety disorders. The present study is the first to extend these findings to pain and investigate the relationship between ERN and pain-related avoidance behavior. It was hypothesized that individuals with larger ERN amplitudes would show more pain-related avoidance behavior and would be more persistent in their avoidance despite changes in the environment. Fifty-three healthy individuals performed the Eriksen Flanker task during which their brain activity upon correct and erroneous motor responses was recorded by means of high-density electroencephalography. Avoidance behavior was assessed with an arm-reaching task using the HapticMaster robot arm. Results showed that, in contrast to our hypothesis, avoidance was not related to ERN amplitudes. Surprisingly, persons with elevated ERN amplitudes showed low levels of avoidance specifically during early acquisition trials. In contrast to earlier findings in anxiety disorders, individuals with elevated ERN amplitudes did not engage in more pain-related avoidance behavior. In fact, the opposite pattern was found at the start of acquisition: individuals with higher compared to lower ERN amplitudes were slower in learning to avoid pain. Replications and future studies on the relationship between ERN and avoidance behavior are needed

    Goal conflict in chronic pain : day reconstruction method

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    Background When suffering from chronic pain, attempts to control or avoid pain often compete with other daily activities. Engaging in one activity excludes engaging in another, equally valued activity, which is referred to as “goal conflict.” As yet, the presence and effects of goal conflicts in patients with chronic pain remain poorly understood. Methods This study systematically mapped the presence and experience of goal conflicts in patients with fibromyalgia compared to healthy controls. A total of 40 patients and 37 controls completed a semi-structured interview in which they first reconstructed the previous day, identified conflicts experienced during that day, and classified each of the conflicting goals in one of nine goal categories. Additionally, they assessed how they experienced the previous day and the reported conflicts. Results Results showed that patients did not experience more goal conflicts than healthy controls, but that they did differ in the type of conflicts experienced. Compared to controls, patients reported more conflicts related to pain, and fewer conflicts involving work-related, social or pleasure-related goals. Moreover, patients experienced conflicts as more aversive and more difficult to resolve than control participants. Discussion This study provides more insight in the dynamics of goal conflict in daily life, and indicates that patients experience conflict as more aversive than controls, and that conflict between pain control (and avoidance) and other valued activities is part of the life of patients

    The exploration-exploitation dilemma in pain:an experimental investigation

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    ABSTRACT: Daily life consists of a chain of decisions. Typically, individuals may choose to pursue what they already know (exploitation), or to search for other options (exploration). This exploration-exploitation dilemma is a topic of interest across multiple scientific fields. Here we propose that investigating how individuals solve this dilemma may improve our understanding of how individuals make behavioral decisions (e.g., avoidance) when facing pain. To this end, we present the data of three experiments in which healthy individuals were given the opportunity to choose between four different movements, with each movement being associated with different probabilities of receiving a painful outcome only (Experiment 1), or pain and/or a reward (Experiment 2). We also investigated whether participants stuck to their decisions when the contingencies between each movement and the painful/rewarding outcome changed during the task (Experiment 3). The key findings across all experiments are the following: First, after initial exploration, participants most often exploited the safest option. Second, participants weighted rewards more heavily than receiving pain. Lastly, after receiving a painful outcome, participants were more inclined to explore than to exploit a rewarding movement. We argue that by focusing more on how individuals in pain solve the exploration-exploitation dilemma is helpful in understanding behavioral decision-making in pain

    Cognitive behavioural therapy for tinnitus (Protocol)

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    This is a protocol for a Cochrane Review (Intervention). The objectives are as follows: To assess the effects and safety of CBT for tinnitus in adults

    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−) 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−. 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−. 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