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

Jones, S P and Walsh, Joe (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. doi:10.1002/ejp.1833

11018-Walsh-(2021)-The-disruptive-effects-of-pain.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (296kB) | Preview


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
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: attentional bias; attentional blink; attentional disengagement; pain; valence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 13:15
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:04

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.