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October 2021

Pain behaviors, spouse responses and somatosensory evoked potentials of chronic pain patients during acute pain tests

Author(s): Flor, H., Birbaumer, N.

Journal/Book: Z Klin Psychol Forsch Praxis. 1999; 28: Rohnsweg 25, D-37085 Gottingen, Germany. Hogrefe & Huber Publishers. 242-247.

Abstract: Twenty chronic back pain patients and 10 matched healthy controls participated in a study that assessed pain behavior, spouse responses and somatosensory evoked potentials during an ischemic pain test or during painful electric stimulation of the back and the finger. Patients whose spouses showed high levels of solicitousness during the ischemic pain test displayed more pain behaviors. During the electric pain test these patients responded with elevated somatosensory evoked potentials which were assessed as global field power of the EEG. The elevated response was only present for the back stimulation. These results confirm important aspects of the operant theory of pain and extend the results to the electrocortical level. Moreover, they demonstrate that verbal and non-verbal pain behavior as well as physiological pain reactions can be operantly modified.

Note: Article Flor H, Humboldt Univ, Inst Psychol, Klin Psychol & Verhaltensneurowissensch, Hausvogteipl 5-7, D-10117 Berlin, GERMANY

Keyword(s): chronic low back pain; SEP; pain behavior; spouse response; operant model; REINFORCEMENT; WHYMPI


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