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Personality’s interaction with the pain experience

Cameron, Alexander (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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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.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Derbyshire, Stuart
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Psychology
Subjects:BF Psychology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1557
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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