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Attentional modulation of thermal pain during a working memory task


Attentional modulation of thermal pain during a working memory task

Tabry, Vanessa (2016) Attentional modulation of thermal pain during a working memory task. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Evidence suggests that pain processing and cognitive task engagement compete for resources under a shared resource model of attention, and that their interaction may be influenced by sensitivity to threat and executive functions factors. We examined the dynamics of pain-related task interruption and task-related pain inhibition in 41 adults with no current pain with the aim of examining whether task-induced analgesia and pain-related task interruption were individually moderated by threat-related psychological traits and executive functions. Participants completed a task while receiving thermal stimuli, and reported significantly lower pain during a challenging task than during a control task, while on average painful stimuli did not significantly impact task performance more than warm stimuli. However, trial-by-trial analyses revealed that reported pain fully explained a trend toward an interruptive effect of pain stimulus on task performance, and conversely, task performance partly counteracted the analgesic effect of task difficulty. Interestingly, weaker divided attention predicted more analgesia while performing the more challenging task, and the mutually inhibitory effects of pain perception and task performance on each other were enhanced in those with high threat sensitivity traits and with low divided attention. Our analyses indicate that individual dynamics of attention allocation between pain and a concurrent task can be partly explained by certain traits. Our results are in support of a limited resource model, and hint that laboratory measures of individual dynamics in attentional pain modulation, along with certain psychological traits and executive functions, could predict clinical pain impairment.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Tabry, Vanessa
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:6 September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bherer, Louis
Keywords:pain distraction thermonociception working memory 2-back executive functions divided attention pain catastrophizing anxiety mindfulness
ID Code:981761
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 13:56
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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