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Cognitive mediators in the reduction of pain: the role of expectancy, strategy use, and self-presentation

Cognitive mediators in the reduction of pain: the role of expectancy, strategy use, and self-presentation

Journal of Abnormal Psychology 98(3): 256-262

Eighty subjects underwent three trials of cold-pressor pain. The first cold-pressor trial served as a baseline. Next, subjects in a neutral (no expectancy information) condition were taught a distraction strategy (shadowing letters) before one cold-pressor trial and an imagery strategy before the other. Subjects in other conditions received positive expectancy information about one of the strategies and negative expectancy information about the other. Negative information reduced expectancy ratings and decreased the magnitude of reported pain reductions. Both pretested levels of social desirability and degree of absorption in strategy use made contributions to the prediction of pain reduction that were independent of expectancy ratings. Theoretical implications are discussed.

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Accession: 039597860

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PMID: 2768661

DOI: 10.1037/0021-843x.98.3.256

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