Working memory, optimism and pain: An elusive link

Working memory, optimism and pain: An elusive link In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Boselie and coworkers [1] report on evoked pain, positive reflection on self-image, and how manipulation of these two factors could influence participants’ performance on a working memory test. It is well documented that pain has a negative influence on working memory, but little is known about how we can counteract this effect. Boselie and coworkers present data from two experimental studies in their article. The first study had a hypothesis about evoked pain having a residual effect on working memory, and that optimism could influence this effect. However, problems with demonstrating a residual effect from cold pressor pain on working memory made the hypothesis difficult to test. The second study looked at the influence optimistic self-reflection had on working memory performance during heat induced pain. The results did, however, not support the hypothesis of a protective effect of induced optimism on pain-related task performance decrements.1Pain reduces working memory performanceReduced working memory performance when experiencing pain is a reliable and reproducible effect, especially for persistent pain [2]. There are several recent reviews on the subject suggesting different pathways for why this happens. One possible pathway is that pain demands cognitive resources http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scandinavian Journal of Pain de Gruyter

Working memory, optimism and pain: An elusive link

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Publisher
De Gruyter
Copyright
© 2016 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain
ISSN
1877-8860
eISSN
1877-8879
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.sjpain.2016.06.003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Boselie and coworkers [1] report on evoked pain, positive reflection on self-image, and how manipulation of these two factors could influence participants’ performance on a working memory test. It is well documented that pain has a negative influence on working memory, but little is known about how we can counteract this effect. Boselie and coworkers present data from two experimental studies in their article. The first study had a hypothesis about evoked pain having a residual effect on working memory, and that optimism could influence this effect. However, problems with demonstrating a residual effect from cold pressor pain on working memory made the hypothesis difficult to test. The second study looked at the influence optimistic self-reflection had on working memory performance during heat induced pain. The results did, however, not support the hypothesis of a protective effect of induced optimism on pain-related task performance decrements.1Pain reduces working memory performanceReduced working memory performance when experiencing pain is a reliable and reproducible effect, especially for persistent pain [2]. There are several recent reviews on the subject suggesting different pathways for why this happens. One possible pathway is that pain demands cognitive resources

Journal

Scandinavian Journal of Painde Gruyter

Published: Jul 1, 2016

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