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Investigating the interaction between pain intensity and time perception and whether anxiety is a moderating factor on this relationship

Wing, John (2013) Investigating the interaction between pain intensity and time perception and whether anxiety is a moderating factor on this relationship. University of Buckingham.

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Abstract

Research directly investigating the interplay between Time Perception and Pain Intensity has been sparse and biased toward clinical studies following the retrospective paradigm while consistently citing anxiety as confounding results. This study investigated the relationship between Pain Intensity and distortions in duration-estimation in a Cold-Pressor Task to clarify whether Anxiety mediated the relationship. This is the first exploratory laboratory study in this area to use the prospective paradigm of time estimation in a non-clinical sample. The main outcome variables were State Anxiety, Pain Intensity and Time Distortion. Twenty Participants were included in the analysis in this between subjects study, randomly allocated to an Anxiety Condition or no-Anxiety (Control) Condition. Participants in the Anxiety Condition underwent a stress induction protocol and all participants were subject to a Cold-Pressor to induce pain. Given both Time and Pain are cognitively modulated perceptual abilities, it is likely these phenomena not only influence each other but may also be impacted by pain-related mood factors such as Anxiety. Results confirmed the hypothesis that a relationship exists between Pain Intensity and Time Perception with most participants experiencing time as “dragging”. The main hypothesis that Anxiety acts a mediator in this relationship was mostly supported.

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