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May 2022

Pain patients' bias in the interpretation of ambiguous homophones

Author(s): Pearce, S., Perrott, A.

Journal/Book: Brit J Med Psychol. 1996; 69: St Andrews House, 48, Princess Rd, East, Leicester, Leics, England LE1 7DR. British Psychological Soc. 259-266.

Abstract: This study describes an investigation into the interpretation of ambiguous homophones by chronic pain patients and non-pain control patients. Participants were presented auditorily with a list of homophones and asked to write down the word they had just heard. Following a two-minute distraction task they completed a freerecall task. A significant bias towards pain interpretation was exhibited by the pain patients and this effect appears to be independent of anxiety and depression. Both groups reported awareness of the ambiguity of some words, and the analysis was repeated for each participant excluding the words reported to be ambiguous. rain patients still showed the bias towards pain interpretation. The free-recall task also demonstrated a memory bias for pain stimuli in pain groups. The results provide further evidence that chronic pain is associated with biases in the processing of information. Future research should aim to investigate the role of these biases in the maintenance of chronic pain.

Note: Article T Pincus, Univ Coll London, Dept Psychol, Gower St, London WC1, England


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