The disruptive effects of pain on the early allocation of attentional resources: an attentional blink study

Jones, S.P and Walsh, J (2021) 'The disruptive effects of pain on the early allocation of attentional resources: an attentional blink study.' European Journal of Pain, 25 (10). pp. 2202-2211. ISSN 1090-3801

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1833

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that pain dampens attentional processes. However, much of this work has been based on higher-order attentional tasks that involve only spatial attention. Other aspects of the process through which pain engages and holds attention are relatively understudied, in particular, temporal attention. The present set of studies explored how naturally occurring pain (i.e., acute headache) and pain-valenced stimuli affect ability to recall the second of two targets presented in rapid succession. Across both experiments participants were required to indicate the presence of a predefined probe (T2) and, in the dual task, identify a target (T1). The probe (T2) was placed in three different temporal proximities (ranging from 70ms to 1000ms) following presentation of the target (T1). In experiment 1, thirty-six participants completed a task that comprised a rapid stream of letters. Experiment 2 manipulated the threat value, and the complexity, of the stimuli by replacing letters with words. In the dual task condition, T1 was a word from one of four affect categories (neutral, positive, negative, pain). Being in acute pain reduced the accuracy of identification. This reduction in performance occurred regardless of the temporal positioning of the probe consistent with previous work that suggests pain has an overall dampening effect. Further, when the affect category of the word was pain-related, T2 accuracy performance was negatively affected. These findings add to the previous evidence that pain has a general dampening effect on attention and that pain-related stimuli are difficult to disengage from.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: attentional bias, attentional blink, attentional disengagement, pain, valence
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1833
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2021 12:10
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 15:07
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