Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorHarvie, Daniel S
dc.contributor.authorMeulders, Ann
dc.contributor.authorMadden, Victoria J
dc.contributor.authorHillier, Susan L
dc.contributor.authorPeto, Daniela K
dc.contributor.authorBrinkworth, Russell
dc.contributor.authorMoseley, G Lorimer
dc.description.abstractAims: Non-nociceptive somatosensory input, such as tactile or proprioceptive information, always precedes nociceptive input during a painful event. This relationship provides clear opportunities for predictive associative learning, which may shape future painful experiences. In this differential classical conditioning study we tested whether pain-associated tactile cues (conditioned stimuli; CS) could alter the perceived intensity of painful stimulation, and whether this depends on duration of the CS—seeing that CS duration might allow or prevent conscious expectation. Methods: Subjects underwent a classical differential conditioning task in which a tactile cue at location A (CS+) preceded painful electrical stimulation at location B (UShigh), whereas a tactile cue at location C (CS−) preceded non-painful electrical stimulation at location B (USlow). At test, we compared the pain evoked by a moderately painful stimulus (USmed) when preceded by either the CS+ or CS−. CS duration was manipulated between subjects. Participants were assigned to one of three groups: Long CS (4 s, allowing conscious expectation), Short CS (110 ms) and CS-US indistinguishable (20 ms), preventing conscious expectation). We hypothesised that more pain would be evoked by the US when preceded by the CS+ relative to the CS-, and that the effect would be independent of CS duration. Results: Fifty-four healthy participants (31 females, age = 26, SD = 9) were included in the analysis. The hypotheses were supported in that more intense pain was evoked by the USmed when paired with the tactile CS+, than when paired with the tactile CS-; mean difference 3 mm on a 150 mm VAS (CI 0.4–4.8 mm). CS duration did not moderate the effect. The effect was greater in those participants where calibration was optimal, as indicated by a relatively more painful UShigh. Conclusion: We conclude that pain-associated tactile cues can influence pain, and that this effect is not dependent on stimulus duration. This suggests that explicit expectation is not a requirement for predictive cues to modulate pain. That the presence of the CS+ resulted in only a 5.3% higher intensity rating compared with the CS− may reflect a limitation of laboratory studies, where a limited number of trials, an artificial context and the use of experimental pain are likely to reveal only glimpses of what is clinically possible.
dc.relation.ispartofjournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
dc.subject.fieldofresearchClinical Sciences not elsewhere classified
dc.subject.fieldofresearchClinical Sciences
dc.titleWhen touch predicts pain: predictive tactile cues modulate perceived intensity of painful stimulation independent of expectancy
dc.typeJournal article
dc.type.descriptionC1 - Articles
dc.type.codeC - Journal Articles
gro.facultyGriffith Health, School of Allied Health Sciences
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
gro.griffith.authorHarvie, Daniel S.

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Journal articles
    Contains articles published by Griffith authors in scholarly journals.

Show simple item record