Author:
Maura Krestar
Subject:
Psychology
Material Type:
Reading
Level:
Academic Lower Division
Tags:
  • Interpretation
  • Modulation
  • Motivation
  • Pain
  • Perception
  • Pleasure
  • Reward
  • Sensation
  • Sensation and Perception
  • THECB Grantee
  • Touch
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English

    Chapter: Touch and Pain (NOBA)

    Overview

    By Guro E. LøsethDan-Mikael Ellingson, and Siri Leknes

    University of Oslo, University of Gothenburg. 

    The sensory systems of touch and pain provide us with information about our environment and our bodies that is often crucial for survival and well-being. Moreover, touch is a source of pleasure. In this module, we review how information about our environment and our bodies is coded in the periphery and interpreted by the brain as touch and pain sensations. We discuss how these experiences are often dramatically shaped by top-down factors like motivation, expectation, mood, fear, stress, and context. When well-functioning,...

    Chapter: Touch and Pain (NOBA)

    By Guro E. LøsethDan-Mikael Ellingson, and Siri Leknes

    University of Oslo, University of Gothenburg. 

    The sensory systems of touch and pain provide us with information about our environment and our bodies that is often crucial for survival and well-being. Moreover, touch is a source of pleasure. In this module, we review how information about our environment and our bodies is coded in the periphery and interpreted by the brain as touch and pain sensations. We discuss how these experiences are often dramatically shaped by top-down factors like motivation, expectation, mood, fear, stress, and context. When well-functioning, these circuits promote survival and prepare us to make adaptive decisions. Pathological loss of touch can result in perceived disconnection from the body, and insensitivity to pain can be very dangerous, leading to maladaptive hazardous behavior. On the other hand, chronic pain conditions, in which these systems start signaling pain in response to innocuous touch or even in the absence of any observable sensory stimuli, have tremendous negative impact on the lives of the affected. Understanding how our sensory-processing mechanisms can be modulated psychologically and physiologically promises to help researchers and clinicians find new ways to alleviate the suffering of chronic-pain patients.