Poster B112, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
On the Influence of Regulated Emotions on Pain Processing
Philipp Reicherts1, Christiane Hoessle1, Matthias J. Wieser2, Paul Pauli1; 1University of Wuerzburg, 2Erasmus University Rotterdam
It is a well-established finding that emotions alter the processing of pain, such that positive emotions reduce pain and negative emotions increase pain. However, it is unclear whether the active down-regulation of emotions results in a corresponding change of the pain modulating effect. To answer this question, we presented participants pleasant and unpleasant pictures, which they should either only watch or down-regulate during reappraisal trials. Six seconds after picture-onset, we administered painful electrical stimuli to the participant’s lower leg. In control trials, participants watched neutral pictures and received the same pain stimuli. In addition to emotion (valence and arousal) and pain ratings (intensity and unpleasantness), we recorded EEG data and evaluated emotion sensitive visually (Late Positive Potential, LPP) and somatosensory (SEP) evoked potentials. The results demonstrate successful emotion regulation especially for unpleasant pictures on the subjective and the neurophysiological level. This was also true for the pain ratings, which were significantly lower during down regulation of unpleasant pictures compared to the watch trials. Analysis of the SEP instead revealed an effect of down-regulation only for pleasant pictures. Taken together, these results show that down regulation of negative emotions also leads to a reduced potentiation of pain. These findings, once again, demonstrate the strong interaction of pain and emotions processing. Future studies should explore the potential of a more elaborate training regarding the use of reappraisal strategies and compare up- vs. down- regulation of emotions.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotional responding