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Forgetting to remember? Prospective memory within the context of pain
Research Group Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Belgium; Section Behavioral Medicine, Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University,The Netherlands.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. Research Group Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Belgium. (Centre for Health and Medical Psychology)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9462-0256
Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium.
Research Group Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Belgium; Section Behavioral Medicine, Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
2017 (English)In: European Journal of Pain, ISSN 1090-3801, E-ISSN 1532-2149Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Pain interferes with cognitive functioning in several ways. Among other symptoms, pain patients often report difficulties with remembering future intentions. It remains unclear, however, whether it is the pain per se that impairs prospective remembering or other factors that often characterize people with pain (e.g. poor sleep quality). In this experiment, we investigated whether prospective memory is impaired within the context of pain, and whether this impairment is enhanced when the threat value of pain is increased.

METHODS: Healthy participants engaged in an ongoing word categorization task, during which they received either experimental pain stimuli (with or without threatening instructions designed to increase the threat value of pain), or no pain stimuli (no somatic stimuli and no threatening instructions). Crucially, participants were also instructed to perform a prospective memory intention on future moments that would be signalled by specific retrieval cues.

RESULTS: Threatening instructions did not differentiate the pain groups in terms of pain threat value; therefore, we only focus on the difference between pain and no pain. Pain and no-pain groups performed the prospective memory intention with similar frequency, indicating that prospective memory is not necessarily impaired when the intended action has to be performed in a painful context.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings are discussed in the framework of the multiprocess theory of prospective memory, which differentiates between the spontaneous and the strategic retrieval of intentions. Methodological considerations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

SIGNIFICANCE: This laboratory study combines established methods from two research fields to investigate the effects of a painful context on memory for future intentions. Painful context did not impair performance of a prospective memory intention that is assumed to be retrieved by means of spontaneous processing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons, 2017.
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-63409DOI: 10.1002/ejp.1152PubMedID: 29226495OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-63409DiVA: diva2:1167537
Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-19Bibliographically approved

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Schrooten, Martien G. S.

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