Pain is an adverse experience and a motivating force which allows for effective responding to environmental threats. There has been limited research in how pain related consequences can be learned outside of direct experience. The purpose of this study was to investigate if a non-painful threatening stimulus can modulate pain behavior. Forty-three male participants were trained via a computer task to respond to a threatening visual symbol (i.e. learned-threat). Participants also completed a painful task, a cold-pressor task (CPT), prior to and after threat training and were randomly assigned to threat/non-threat conditions during a CPT after the threat training. Repeated measures mixed-effects model compared tolerance time and pain ratings between conditions. The threat condition did not significantly influence CPT tolerance time or pain intensity. Therefore, a recently learned non-painful threatening stimulus does not affect pain intensity or tolerance during a CPT.
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experimental pain, operant conditioning, risk-taking, computerized task, immersive environment, learning
Kruger, Eric. "Effect of a Learned-Threat on Pain Perception and Behaviors." (2019). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/psy_etds/291