Boundary effects of expectation in human pain perception


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Authors
Charalambous, C. 
El-Deredy, W. 
Jones, A. K. P. 
Talmi, D. 
Abstract

Abstract: Perception of sensory stimulation is influenced by numerous psychological variables. One example is placebo analgesia, where expecting low pain causes a painful stimulus to feel less painful. Yet, because pain evolved to signal threats to survival, it should be maladaptive for highly-erroneous expectations to yield unrealistic pain experiences. Therefore, we hypothesised that a cue followed by a highly discrepant stimulus intensity, which generates a large prediction error, will have a weaker influence on the perception of that stimulus. To test this hypothesis we collected two independent pain-cueing datasets. The second dataset and the analysis plan were preregistered (https://osf.io/5r6z7/). Regression modelling revealed that reported pain intensities were best explained by a quartic polynomial model of the prediction error. The results indicated that the influence of cues on perceived pain decreased when stimulus intensity was very different from expectations, suggesting that prediction error size has an immediate functional role in pain perception.

Description

Funder: RCUK | Medical Research Council (MRC); doi: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000265


Funder: FONDECYT, 1161378

Keywords
Article, /631/378/2649/1723, /631/477/2811, article
Journal Title
Scientific Reports
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
2045-2322
Volume Title
9
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group UK
Sponsorship
Consejo Nacional de Innovaci&amp (FB0008)