An experimental study of attention, labelling and memory in people suffering from chronic pain

Sibylle Rode, Paul M Salkovskis, Tim Jack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Examined the responses of chronic pain patients during behavioral tasks measuring attention, labelling, and memory. 39 pain patients (aged 17-67 yrs) completed tasks involving the prolonged squeezing of a dynamometer, dichotic listening to neutral and distractor words, both squeezing and listening, and subsequent memory of discomfort experiences. Ss completed the squeezing tasks with or without the experimenter labelling them as more or less negative. Results show patients were less able to sustain prolonged muscle tension than healthy controls, but the effect was not evident once the distracting task was introduced. Similar effects were found for discomfort. All Ss subsequently recalled the squeezing task as being longer than actuality, and associated it with less discomfort than they had reported at the time. In the dichotic listening tasks, although patients detected the same number of words overall as did controls, they were less able to focus on the target channel. It is concluded that pain can be disrupted by employing an engaging distracting task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-203
Number of pages11
JournalPain
Volume94
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • pain memory
  • time perception
  • labelling
  • chronic pain
  • auditory stimulation
  • distraction
  • attention
  • memory

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