Not seeing or feeling is still believing: conscious and non-conscious pain modulation after direct and observational learning
AuthorEgorova, N; Park, J; Orr, SP; Kirsch, I; Gollub, RL; Kong, J
Source TitleScientific Reports
PublisherNATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
University of Melbourne Author/sBrumley, Natalia
AffiliationMelbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsEgorova, N., Park, J., Orr, S. P., Kirsch, I., Gollub, R. L. & Kong, J. (2015). Not seeing or feeling is still believing: conscious and non-conscious pain modulation after direct and observational learning. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5 (1), https://doi.org/10.1038/srep16809.
Access StatusOpen Access
Our experience with the world is shaped not only directly through personal exposure but also indirectly through observing others and learning from their experiences. Using a conditioning paradigm, we investigated how directly and observationally learned information can affect pain perception, both consciously and non-consciously. Differences between direct and observed cues were manifest in higher pain ratings and larger skin conductance responses to directly experienced cues. However, the pain modulation effects produced by conditioning were of comparable magnitude for direct and observational learning. These results suggest that social observation can induce positive and negative pain modulation. Importantly, the fact that cues learned by observation and activated non-consciously still produced a robust conditioning effect that withstood extinction highlights the role of indirect exposure in placebo and nocebo effects.
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