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Science. 2016 Nov 4;354(6312):584-587.

Deconstructing the sensation of pain: The influence of cognitive processes on pain perception.

Author information

1
Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. katja.wiech@ndcn.ox.ac.uk.
2
Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Nuffield Division Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.

Abstract

Phenomena such as placebo analgesia or pain relief through distraction highlight the powerful influence cognitive processes and learning mechanisms have on the way we perceive pain. Although contemporary models of pain acknowledge that pain is not a direct readout of nociceptive input, the neuronal processes underlying cognitive modulation are not yet fully understood. Modern concepts of perception-which include computational modeling to quantify the influence of cognitive processes-suggest that perception is critically determined by expectations and their modification through learning. Research on pain has just begun to embrace this view. Insights into these processes promise to open up new avenues to pain prevention and treatment by harnessing the power of the mind.

PMID:
27811269
DOI:
10.1126/science.aaf8934
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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