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Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2017 Jan-Feb;24(1):81-91. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

Impact of concurrent cognitive processing on cold pain perception: Implications for pain management and its neurobiological basis.

Terrighena EL1,2, Shao R1,2, Lee TM1,2,3,4.

Author information

1
a Laboratory of Neuropsychology , The University of Hong Kong , Hong Kong , Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
2
b Laboratory of Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience , The University of Hong Kong , Hong Kong , Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
3
c The State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences , The University of Hong Kong , Hong Kong , Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
4
d Institute of Clinical Neuropsychology , The University of Hong Kong , Hong Kong , Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Findings for heat pain have shown consistent pain attenuation through concurrent cognitive task completion; but only a minimal amount of studies have explored that for cold pain. This study investigated the direct impact of two well-established cognitive tasks on cold pain tolerance. In a within-subject design, 36 female Hong Kong locals were required to complete a baseline pain tolerance measurement, induced by the well-established Cold Pressor Test. This was followed by the counterbalanced presentation of the Colour Stroop or the Judgment of Line Orientation task with and without concurrent pain administration. As suggested by the Limited Capacity, Multiple Resource, and Cognitive-Affective Models, participants were expected to tolerate pain for significantly longer durations when they perform either concurrent Colour Stroop or concurrent Judgment of Line Orientation tasks compared to baseline measures with no concurrent task. The findings clearly indicated increased pain tolerance times during task completion compared with baseline measures, providing support for the a-priori hypothesis. The results contribute to existing literature by confirming increased cold pain tolerance during selective attention to cognitive tasks and extending this finding to tasks previously established in heat pain but not for cold pain research.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive tasks; cold pain; limited capacity model; spatial judgment; stroop

PMID:
27078504
DOI:
10.1080/23279095.2015.1100618
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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