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Sub-optimal presentation of painful facial expressions enhances readiness for action and pain perception following electrocutaneous stimulation.

Khatibi A, Schrooten M, Bosmans K, Volders S, Vlaeyen JW, Van den Bussche E - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: This study focuses on the effect of sub-optimal presentation of painful facial expressions in the presence and absence of an electrocutaneous stimulus.Twenty-two healthy individuals categorized arrow targets which were preceded by a sub-optimally presented facial expression (painful, happy, or neutral in different blocks).These findings suggest that sub-optimally presented painful expressions can enhance readiness to act to neutral, non-pain-related targets after aversive stimulation and can increase pain perception.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Group on Health Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Leuven, Belgium ; Laboratory of Research on Neuropsychology of Pain, University of Montreal Montréal, QC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Observation of others' painful facial expressions has been shown to facilitate behavioral response tendencies and to increase pain perception in the observer. However, in previous studies, expressions were clearly visible to the observer and none of those studies investigated the effect of presence of peripheral stimulation on response tendencies. This study focuses on the effect of sub-optimal presentation of painful facial expressions in the presence and absence of an electrocutaneous stimulus. Twenty-two healthy individuals categorized arrow targets which were preceded by a sub-optimally presented facial expression (painful, happy, or neutral in different blocks). On half of the trials, aversive electrocutaneous stimulation was delivered to the wrist of the non-dominant hand between the presentation of facial expression and target (an arrow directing to right or left). Participants' task was to indicate direction of the arrow as soon as it appears on the screen by pressing the corresponding key on the keyboard and to rate their pain at the end of block. Analysis showed that responses were faster to targets preceded by aversive stimulation than to targets not preceded by stimulation, especially following painful expressions. Painfulness ratings were higher following painful expressions than following happy expressions. These findings suggest that sub-optimally presented painful expressions can enhance readiness to act to neutral, non-pain-related targets after aversive stimulation and can increase pain perception.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Mean reaction times (RTs) on trials with and without electrocutaneous stimulus in three blocks with different primes (Happy, Neutral, Painful).
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Figure 2: Mean reaction times (RTs) on trials with and without electrocutaneous stimulus in three blocks with different primes (Happy, Neutral, Painful).

Mentions: In order to address this significant interaction, an index of response facilitation was computed by subtracting mean RT to targets preceded by aversive electrocutaneous stimulation from RTs to targets preceded by no electrocutaneous stimulation. A post hoc t-test, comparing this index against zero (i.e., no response facilitation) indicated response facilitation for targets preceded by electrocutaneous stimulation following painful expressions [M = 21.4, SD = 24.2, t(21) = 4.12, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.98]. However, following happy [M = 8.1, SD = 20.5, t(21) = 1.81, p = 0.08, Cohen’s d = 0.40] and neutral expressions [M = 1.2, SD = 20.8, t(21) = 0.28, p = 0.78, Cohen’s d = 0.06] no significant response facilitation emerged (Figure 2).


Sub-optimal presentation of painful facial expressions enhances readiness for action and pain perception following electrocutaneous stimulation.

Khatibi A, Schrooten M, Bosmans K, Volders S, Vlaeyen JW, Van den Bussche E - Front Psychol (2015)

Mean reaction times (RTs) on trials with and without electrocutaneous stimulus in three blocks with different primes (Happy, Neutral, Painful).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4493322&req=5

Figure 2: Mean reaction times (RTs) on trials with and without electrocutaneous stimulus in three blocks with different primes (Happy, Neutral, Painful).
Mentions: In order to address this significant interaction, an index of response facilitation was computed by subtracting mean RT to targets preceded by aversive electrocutaneous stimulation from RTs to targets preceded by no electrocutaneous stimulation. A post hoc t-test, comparing this index against zero (i.e., no response facilitation) indicated response facilitation for targets preceded by electrocutaneous stimulation following painful expressions [M = 21.4, SD = 24.2, t(21) = 4.12, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.98]. However, following happy [M = 8.1, SD = 20.5, t(21) = 1.81, p = 0.08, Cohen’s d = 0.40] and neutral expressions [M = 1.2, SD = 20.8, t(21) = 0.28, p = 0.78, Cohen’s d = 0.06] no significant response facilitation emerged (Figure 2).

Bottom Line: This study focuses on the effect of sub-optimal presentation of painful facial expressions in the presence and absence of an electrocutaneous stimulus.Twenty-two healthy individuals categorized arrow targets which were preceded by a sub-optimally presented facial expression (painful, happy, or neutral in different blocks).These findings suggest that sub-optimally presented painful expressions can enhance readiness to act to neutral, non-pain-related targets after aversive stimulation and can increase pain perception.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Group on Health Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Leuven, Belgium ; Laboratory of Research on Neuropsychology of Pain, University of Montreal Montréal, QC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Observation of others' painful facial expressions has been shown to facilitate behavioral response tendencies and to increase pain perception in the observer. However, in previous studies, expressions were clearly visible to the observer and none of those studies investigated the effect of presence of peripheral stimulation on response tendencies. This study focuses on the effect of sub-optimal presentation of painful facial expressions in the presence and absence of an electrocutaneous stimulus. Twenty-two healthy individuals categorized arrow targets which were preceded by a sub-optimally presented facial expression (painful, happy, or neutral in different blocks). On half of the trials, aversive electrocutaneous stimulation was delivered to the wrist of the non-dominant hand between the presentation of facial expression and target (an arrow directing to right or left). Participants' task was to indicate direction of the arrow as soon as it appears on the screen by pressing the corresponding key on the keyboard and to rate their pain at the end of block. Analysis showed that responses were faster to targets preceded by aversive stimulation than to targets not preceded by stimulation, especially following painful expressions. Painfulness ratings were higher following painful expressions than following happy expressions. These findings suggest that sub-optimally presented painful expressions can enhance readiness to act to neutral, non-pain-related targets after aversive stimulation and can increase pain perception.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus