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Mutual influences of pain and emotional face processing.

Wieser MJ, Gerdes AB, Reicherts P, Pauli P - Front Psychol (2014)

Bottom Line: This review reveals that the literature is only partly consistent with this assumption: pain reduces the processing of pleasant pictures and happy facial expressions, but does not - or only partly - affect processing of unpleasant pictures.Extending a mere affective modulation theory, the latter results suggest pain-specific effects which may be explained by the perception-action model of empathy.Together, these results underscore the important mutual influence of pain and emotional face processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Würzburg Würzburg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The perception of unpleasant stimuli enhances whereas the perception of pleasant stimuli decreases pain perception. In contrast, the effects of pain on the processing of emotional stimuli are much less known. Especially given the recent interest in facial expressions of pain as a special category of emotional stimuli, a main topic in this research line is the mutual influence of pain and facial expression processing. Therefore, in this mini-review we selectively summarize research on the effects of emotional stimuli on pain, but more extensively turn to the opposite direction namely how pain influences concurrent processing of affective stimuli such as facial expressions. Based on the motivational priming theory one may hypothesize that the perception of pain enhances the processing of unpleasant stimuli and decreases the processing of pleasant stimuli. This review reveals that the literature is only partly consistent with this assumption: pain reduces the processing of pleasant pictures and happy facial expressions, but does not - or only partly - affect processing of unpleasant pictures. However, it was demonstrated that pain selectively enhances the processing of facial expressions if these are pain-related (i.e., facial expressions of pain). Extending a mere affective modulation theory, the latter results suggest pain-specific effects which may be explained by the perception-action model of empathy. Together, these results underscore the important mutual influence of pain and emotional face processing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Topographies for mean late positive potential (LPP) amplitude differences elicited by emotional and neutral facial expressions. Pronounced LPPs are particularly found for painful compared to neutral facial expressions. Data are taken from Reicherts et al. (2012).
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Figure 1: Topographies for mean late positive potential (LPP) amplitude differences elicited by emotional and neutral facial expressions. Pronounced LPPs are particularly found for painful compared to neutral facial expressions. Data are taken from Reicherts et al. (2012).

Mentions: Compared to neutral facial expressions, facial expressions of pain receive prioritized processing and elicit enhanced initial orienting (Vervoort et al., 2013). Similar results were obtained in a dot-probe paradigm (Baum et al., 2013), whose results indicated both early attentional engagement and subsequent avoidance of facial expressions of pain. A recent study from our lab investigated whether facial expressions of pain are perceived differentially from other facial expressions and elicit distinct electro-cortical responses as measured by ERPs (Reicherts et al., 2012). To this end, participants watched painful, fearful, happy, neutral facial expressions (Simon et al., 2008) and were asked to rate these videos while EEG was recorded continuously. Videos of pain faces were rated as more intense and negative than other emotional (both positive and negative) expressions and concurrently elicited enhanced electrocortical responses (augmented late positive potentials, LPPs), which are supposed to index sustained motivated attention to salient stimuli (Schupp et al., 2000) (see Figure 1).


Mutual influences of pain and emotional face processing.

Wieser MJ, Gerdes AB, Reicherts P, Pauli P - Front Psychol (2014)

Topographies for mean late positive potential (LPP) amplitude differences elicited by emotional and neutral facial expressions. Pronounced LPPs are particularly found for painful compared to neutral facial expressions. Data are taken from Reicherts et al. (2012).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4195272&req=5

Figure 1: Topographies for mean late positive potential (LPP) amplitude differences elicited by emotional and neutral facial expressions. Pronounced LPPs are particularly found for painful compared to neutral facial expressions. Data are taken from Reicherts et al. (2012).
Mentions: Compared to neutral facial expressions, facial expressions of pain receive prioritized processing and elicit enhanced initial orienting (Vervoort et al., 2013). Similar results were obtained in a dot-probe paradigm (Baum et al., 2013), whose results indicated both early attentional engagement and subsequent avoidance of facial expressions of pain. A recent study from our lab investigated whether facial expressions of pain are perceived differentially from other facial expressions and elicit distinct electro-cortical responses as measured by ERPs (Reicherts et al., 2012). To this end, participants watched painful, fearful, happy, neutral facial expressions (Simon et al., 2008) and were asked to rate these videos while EEG was recorded continuously. Videos of pain faces were rated as more intense and negative than other emotional (both positive and negative) expressions and concurrently elicited enhanced electrocortical responses (augmented late positive potentials, LPPs), which are supposed to index sustained motivated attention to salient stimuli (Schupp et al., 2000) (see Figure 1).

Bottom Line: This review reveals that the literature is only partly consistent with this assumption: pain reduces the processing of pleasant pictures and happy facial expressions, but does not - or only partly - affect processing of unpleasant pictures.Extending a mere affective modulation theory, the latter results suggest pain-specific effects which may be explained by the perception-action model of empathy.Together, these results underscore the important mutual influence of pain and emotional face processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Würzburg Würzburg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The perception of unpleasant stimuli enhances whereas the perception of pleasant stimuli decreases pain perception. In contrast, the effects of pain on the processing of emotional stimuli are much less known. Especially given the recent interest in facial expressions of pain as a special category of emotional stimuli, a main topic in this research line is the mutual influence of pain and facial expression processing. Therefore, in this mini-review we selectively summarize research on the effects of emotional stimuli on pain, but more extensively turn to the opposite direction namely how pain influences concurrent processing of affective stimuli such as facial expressions. Based on the motivational priming theory one may hypothesize that the perception of pain enhances the processing of unpleasant stimuli and decreases the processing of pleasant stimuli. This review reveals that the literature is only partly consistent with this assumption: pain reduces the processing of pleasant pictures and happy facial expressions, but does not - or only partly - affect processing of unpleasant pictures. However, it was demonstrated that pain selectively enhances the processing of facial expressions if these are pain-related (i.e., facial expressions of pain). Extending a mere affective modulation theory, the latter results suggest pain-specific effects which may be explained by the perception-action model of empathy. Together, these results underscore the important mutual influence of pain and emotional face processing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus