Cameron, Alexander (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Pain is more than just a physical response to disease or injury. Pain is flexible and varies dependant on psychological state. Personality traits such as depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis can mediate pain. A wealth of research has identified the relationship between personality and pain, but each individual case only centres on specific traits or specific causes of pain. In the first experiment participants were subjected to the MMPI and tests of pain sensitivity and anomalous perception. Correlation coefficients identified a significant negative relationship between hysteria and pain threshold and a positive relationship between gender inversion and pain threshold. A significant negative relationship was observed between pain sensitivity and frequency of anomalous perceptual experiences. This finding is potentially due to a susceptibility to heightened sensory experiences and consequently pain. The second experiment centres on the induction of an anomalous perceptual experience using a modified rubber hand illusion. Participants reported significantly greater pain in the sensory-motor incongruent condition possibly due to the associated heightened sensory experience. This indicates the existence of an anomalously perceptive personality and highlights gender inversion as a new personality trait that mediates pain. Further research is required using modern methods and to test the prevalence of these personality traits in functional pain patients.
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