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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Apr;51:118-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.01.009. Epub 2015 Jan 17.

Associative fear learning and perceptual discrimination: a perceptual pathway in the development of chronic pain.

Author information

1
Research Group Health Psychology, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Center of Excellence on Generalization Research, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: Jonas.Zaman@ppw.kuleuven.be.
2
Research Group Health Psychology, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Center of Excellence on Generalization Research, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.
3
Translational Research Centre for Gastrointestinal Disorders, KU Leuven, Herenstraat 49, Box 701, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Centre, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: Lukas.VanOudenhove@med.kuleuven.be.
4
Center of Excellence on Generalization Research, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB), University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Nuffield Division Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. Electronic address: katja.wiech@ndcn.ox.ac.uk.
5
Research Group Health Psychology, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Center of Excellence on Generalization Research, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3726, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: Ilse.VanDiest@ppw.kuleuven.be.

Abstract

Recent neuropsychological theories emphasize the influence of maladaptive learning and memory processes on pain perception. However, the precise relationship between these processes as well as the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood; especially the role of perceptual discrimination and its modulation by associative fear learning has received little attention so far. Experimental work with exteroceptive stimuli consistently points to effects of fear learning on perceptual discrimination acuity. In addition, clinical observations have revealed that in individuals with chronic pain perceptual discrimination is impaired, and that tactile discrimination training reduces pain. Based on these findings, we present a theoretical model of which the central tenet is that associative fear learning contributes to the development of chronic pain through impaired interoceptive and proprioceptive discrimination acuity.

KEYWORDS:

Associative fear learning; Chronic pain; Pain perception; Perceptual discrimination

PMID:
25603316
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.01.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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