Expressive suppression to pain in others reduces negative emotion but not vicarious pain in the observer.
Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience
Although there are situations where it may be appropriate to reduce one's emotional response to the pain of others, the impact of an observer's emotional expressivity on their response to pain in others is still not well understood. In the present study, we examined how the emotion regulation strategy expressive suppression influences responses to pain in others. Based on prior research findings on expressive suppression and pain empathy, we hypothesized that expressive suppression to pain expression faces would reduce neural representations of negative emotion, vicarious pain, or both. To test this, we applied two multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA)-derived neural signatures to our data, the Picture Induced Negative Emotion Signature (PINES; Chang, Gianaros, Manuck, Krishnan, and Wager (2015)) and a neural signature offacial expression induced vicarious pain (Zhou et al., 2020). In a sample of 60 healthy individuals, we found that viewing pain expression faces increased neural representations of negative emotion and vicarious pain. However, expressive suppression to pain faces reduced neural representations of negative emotion only. Providing support for a connection between neural representations of negative emotion and pain empathy, PINES responses to pain faces were associated with participants' trait-level empathy and the perceived unpleasantness of pain faces. Findings suggest that a consequence of suppressing one's facial expressions in response to the pain of others may be a reduction in the affective aspect of empathy but not the experience of vicarious painitself.
View details for DOI 10.3758/s13415-021-00873-1
View details for PubMedID 33759062
Modeling neural and self-reported factors of affective distress in the relationship between pain and working memory in healthy individuals.
The relationship between pain and cognition has primarily been investigated in patients with chronic pain and healthy participants undergoing experimental pain. Recently, there has been interest in understanding the disruptive effects of non-experimental pain in otherwise healthy individuals. Recent studies suggest that healthy individuals reporting pain also demonstrate decrements in working memory (WM) performance, however factors contributing to this relationship remain poorly understood. The present study examined the association between everyday pain and WM in a large community-based sample of healthy individuals and investigated whether self-reported affective distress and medial frontal cortex activity might help to explain this relationship. To address these research questions, a large publicly available dataset from the Human Connectome Project (N = 416) was sourced and structural equation modeling was utilized to examine relationships between pain intensity experienced over the past 7 days, self-reported affective distress (composite measure), performance on a WM (n-back) task, and task-related activation in the medial frontal cortex. Examining participants who reported non-zero pain intensity in the last 7 days (n = 228), we found a direct negative association between pain intensity and performance on the WM n-back task, consistent with prior findings. Self-reported affective distress was not associated with WM performance. Additionally, pain intensity was indirectly associated with WM performance via WM task-related activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Our findings suggest that everyday pain experienced outside of the laboratory by otherwise healthy individuals may directly impact WM performance. Furthermore, WM task-related increases in vmPFC activity may be a factor contributing to this relationship.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107766
View details for PubMedID 33503490
Clinician-Patient Racial/Ethnic Concordance Influences Racial/Ethnic Minority Pain: Evidence from Simulated Clinical Interactions.
Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)
OBJECTIVE: Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States report higher levels of both clinical and experimental pain, yet frequently receive inadequate pain treatment. Although these disparities are well documented, their underlying causes remain largely unknown. Evidence from social psychological and health disparities research suggests that clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance may improve minority patient health outcomes. Yet whether clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance influences pain remains poorly understood.METHODS: Medical trainees and community members/undergraduates played the role of "clinicians" and "patients," respectively, in simulated clinical interactions. All participants identified as non-Hispanic Black/African American, Hispanic white, or non-Hispanic white. Interactions were randomized to be either racially/ethnically concordant or discordant in a 3 (clinician race/ethnicity) * 2 (clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance) factorial design. Clinicians took the medical history and vital signs of the patient and administered an analogue of a painful medical procedure.RESULTS: As predicted, clinician-patient racial/ethnic concordance reduced self-reported and physiological indicators of pain for non-Hispanic Black/African American patients and did not influence pain for non-Hispanic white patients. Contrary to our prediction, concordance was associated with increased pain report in Hispanic white patients. Finally, the influence of concordance on pain-induced physiological arousal was largest for patients who reported prior experience with or current worry about racial/ethnic discrimination.CONCLUSIONS: Our findings inform our understanding of the sociocultural factors that influence pain within medical contexts and suggest that increasing minority, particularly non-Hispanic Black/African American, physician numbers may help reduce persistent racial/ethnic pain disparities.
View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnaa258
View details for PubMedID 32830855
Clinician-Patient Movement Synchrony Mediates Social Group Effects on Interpersonal Trust and Perceived Pain.
The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society
Pain is an unfortunate consequence of many medical procedures, which in some patients becomes chronic and debilitating. Among the factors affecting medical pain, clinician-patient (C-P) similarity and nonverbal communication are particularly important for pain diagnosis and treatment. Participants (N = 66) were randomly assigned to clinician and patient roles and were grouped into C-P dyads. Clinicians administered painful stimuli to patients as an analogue of a painful medical procedure. We manipulated the perceived C-P similarity of each dyad using groups ostensibly based on shared beliefs and values, and each patient was tested twice: Once with a same group clinician (concordant, CC) and once with a clinician from the other group (discordant, DC). Movement synchrony was calculated as a marker of nonverbal communication. We tested whether movement synchrony mediated the effects of group concordance on patients' pain and trust in the clinician. Movement synchrony was higher in CC than DC dyads. Higher movement synchrony predicted reduced pain and increased trust in the clinician. Movement synchrony also formally mediated the group concordance effects on pain and trust. These findings increase our understanding of the role of nonverbal C-P communication on pain and related outcomes. Interpersonal synchrony may be associated with better pain outcomes, independent of the specific treatment provided. PERSPECTIVE: This article demonstrates that movement synchrony in C-P interactions is an unobtrusive measure related to their relationship quality, trust toward the clinician, and pain. These findings suggest that interpersonal synchrony may be associated with better patient outcomes, independent of the specific treatment provided.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2020.03.001
View details for PubMedID 32544602
Feelings of Clinician-Patient Similarity and Trust Influence Pain: Evidence From Simulated Clinical Interactions
JOURNAL OF PAIN
2017; 18 (7): 787–99
Pain is influenced by many factors other than external sources of tissue damage. Among these, the clinician-patient relationship is particularly important for pain diagnosis and treatment. However, the effects of the clinician-patient relationship on pain remain underexamined. We tested the hypothesis that patients who believe they share core beliefs and values with their clinician will report less pain than patients who do not. We also measured feelings of perceived clinician-patient similarity and trust to see if these interpersonal factors influenced pain. We did so by experimentally manipulating perceptions of similarity between participants playing the role of clinicians and participants playing the role of patients in simulated clinical interactions. Participants were placed in 2 groups on the basis of their responses to a questionnaire about their personal beliefs and values, and painful thermal stimulation was used as an analog of a painful medical procedure. We found that patients reported feeling more similarity and trust toward their clinician when they were paired with clinicians from their own group. In turn, patients' positive feelings of similarity and trust toward their clinicians-but not clinicians' feelings toward patients or whether the clinician and patient were from the same group-predicted lower pain ratings. Finally, the most anxious patients exhibited the strongest relationship between their feelings about their clinicians and their pain report. These findings increase our understanding of context-driven pain modulation and suggest that interventions aimed at increasing patients' feelings of similarity to and trust in health care providers may help reduce the pain experienced during medical care.We present novel evidence that the clinician-patient relationship can affect the pain experienced during medical care. We found that "patients" in simulated clinical interactions who reported feeling more similarity and trust toward their "clinicians" reported less pain, suggesting that increasing feelings of clinician-patient similarity and trust may reduce pain disparities.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.02.428
View details for Web of Science ID 000404946200004
View details for PubMedID 28479279
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5590751
A sociocultural neuroscience approach to pain
Culture & Brain
View details for DOI 10.1007/s40167-016-0037-4