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Uncertainty increases pain: evidence for a novel mechanism of pain modulation involving the periaqueductal gray.

Yoshida, W and Seymour, B and Koltzenburg, M and Dolan, RJ (2013) Uncertainty increases pain: evidence for a novel mechanism of pain modulation involving the periaqueductal gray. J Neurosci, 33. pp. 5638-5646.

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Abstract

Predictions about sensory input exert a dominant effect on what we perceive, and this is particularly true for the experience of pain. However, it remains unclear what component of prediction, from an information-theoretic perspective, controls this effect. We used a vicarious pain observation paradigm to study how the underlying statistics of predictive information modulate experience. Subjects observed judgments that a group of people made to a painful thermal stimulus, before receiving the same stimulus themselves. We show that the mean observed rating exerted a strong assimilative effect on subjective pain. In addition, we show that observed uncertainty had a specific and potent hyperalgesic effect. Using computational functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that this effect correlated with activity in the periaqueductal gray. Our results provide evidence for a novel form of cognitive hyperalgesia relating to perceptual uncertainty, induced here by vicarious observation, with control mediated by the brainstem pain modulatory system.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brain Mapping Computer Simulation Female Humans Image Processing, Computer-Assisted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Male Models, Biological Oxygen Pain Pain Measurement Pain Perception Pain Threshold Periaqueductal Gray Physical Stimulation Uncertainty
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Div F > Computational and Biological Learning
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 11:22
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2014 01:18
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4984-12.2013

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