Effects of Predictability and Controllability on Pain Perception
Marie Habermann, Christian Büchel, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
Posters 3 Poster
Pacific Ballroom H-O
Sat, 27 Aug, 19:30 - 21:30 Pacific Time (UTC -7)
Perception of painful stimuli is affected by expectation effects. Multiple different effects have been proposed in the literature. On one side stands the concept that in uncertain conditions pain perception is biased towards the mean of the stimulus distribution. On the other hand the uncertainty-hyperalgesia hypothesis supposes a general increase in pain perception in uncertain conditions. Whereas the bias to the mean can result in higher and lower pain ratings depending on the stimulation intensity, in the second case, a purely positive bias scales with uncertainty. Uncertainty is directly related to stimulus predictability. Furthermore pain is influenced by the feeling of subjective control over a situation. With a new task design to disentangle the effects of predictability and controllability on pain perception we show that the effect of controllability on pain perception relies mostly on stimulus predictability. Our data conforms to both hypotheses on different levels: Perceptual uncertainty increases overall pain ratings and predictability related uncertainty biases ratings towards a prior mean depending on stimulus intensity.