Neural and Psychological Mechanisms of Pain Perception

Neural and Psychological Mechanisms of Pain Perception

Background: - Painful stimuli cause changes in a network of brain regions called the Pain Matrix. But most of these regions respond to many other stimuli, not just pain. Researchers want to understand how different factors influence pain. They want to test what happens when people expect different levels of pain and receive treatments that can modify pain. They want to see if these factors influence decisions about pain and how the body responds to it. They also want to compare pain with responses like taste and vision. Objectives: - To better understand how pain and emotions are processed and influenced by psychological factors. Eligibility: - Healthy volunteers ages 18 50. Design: - This study requires 1 to 2 clinic visits that last 1 to 3 hours. - Participants will be screened with medical history and physical exam. - Some participants will have one or more magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of their brain. For MRI, participants will lie on a table that slides in and out of a cylinder. The scanner makes loud knocking noises. They will get earplugs. - Participants heart activity will be recorded with electrocardiogram. Their pulse, sweating, and breathing will be monitored. - Some participants will take a taste test. Others may perform simple tasks. Others may receive pain in their arm, leg, or hand. The pain will come from heat or electric shocks. Others may judge pain using a topical pain-relieving cream. Some of these tests may be given during MRI. - Participants will fill out questionnaires. - The study will last 3 years.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Behavioral - Instructions

In sub-study 1, half the participants are instructed about outcomes, half learn through experience.

Behavioral - Attention

In sub-study 4, participants learn about outcomes and we manipulate attention toward or away from the pain.

Behavioral - Thermal Pain

In sub-studies 2 and 3, participants are exposed to thermal stimuli and/or tastants (sugar water, salt water, neutral rinse) and we are measuring how learning varies based on the type of outcome.

Behavioral - Placebo instructions

In sub-study 5, we test whether placebo effects and expectancy cues modulate pain through similar mechanisms.

Neural and Psychological Mechanisms of Pain Perception