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Attention effects on vicarious modulation of nociception and pain
Research Group on Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Departement de Psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada; Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. Research Group on Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; . (Center for Health and Medical Psychology)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9462-0256
Research Group on Health Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
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2014 (English)In: Pain, ISSN 0304-3959, E-ISSN 1872-6623, Vol. 155, no 10, 2033-2039 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The observation of others' facial expressions of pain has been shown to facilitate the observer's nociceptive responses and to increase pain perception. We investigated how this vicarious facilitation effect is modulated by directing the observer's attention toward the meaning of pain expression or the facial movements. In separate trials, participants were instructed to assess the "intensity of the pain expression"(meaning) or to "discriminate the facial movements" in the upper vs lower part of the face shown in 1-second dynamic clips displaying mild, moderate, or strong pain expressions or a neutral control. In 50% of the trials, participants received a painful electrical stimulation to the sural nerve immediately after the presentation of the expression. Low-level nociceptive reactivity was measured with the RIII-response, and pain perception was assessed using pain ratings. Pain induced by the electrical stimulation increased after viewing stronger pain expressions in both tasks, but the RIII-response showed this vicarious facilitation effect only in the movement discrimination task at the strongest expression intensity. These findings are consistent with the notion that vicarious processes facilitate self-pain and may prime automatic nociceptive responses. However, this priming effect is influenced by top-down attentional processes. These results provide another case of dissociation between reflexive and perceptual processes, consistent with the involvement of partly separate brain networks in the regulation of cortical and lower-level nociceptive responses. Combined with previous results, these findings suggest that vicarious pain facilitation is an automatic process that may be diminished by top-down attentional processes directed at the meaning of the expression.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 155, no 10, 2033-2039 p.
Keyword [en]
Attentional modulation; Facial expression of pain; Nociceptive flexion reflex; Pain perception; Vicarious facilitation
National Category
Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
Research subject
Anaesthesiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35939DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.07.005ISI: 000343831300020PubMedID: 25016217OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-35939DiVA: diva2:737689
Note

Funding Agencies:

National Science Research Council of Canada (NSERC) 341472-07/2013

KU Leuven

Fonds de la recherche Quebec-Sante

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Odysseus Grant "the Psychology of Pain and Disability Research Program'' - Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO Vlaanderen, Belgium)

Available from: 2014-08-13 Created: 2014-08-13 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Schrooten, Martien

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