SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 14.1: Chajut, E., Caspi, A., Chen, R., Hod, M., & Ariely, D. (2014). In pain thou shalt bring forth children: The peak-and-end rule in recall of labor pain. Psychological Science, 25(12), 2266-2271. doi:10.1177/0956797614551004

Abstract: Childbirth is usually the most painful event of a mother’s life, and resonates in individual and collective memory for years. The current study examined the relationship between the experience of labor pain and its recollection 2 days and 2 months after delivery. We found that despite the exceptional physical and emotional experiences of childbirth, the memory of the pain involved in labor was biased toward the average of the peak pain and the end pain, whereas the duration of the delivery had a relatively negligible effect on the recollected intensity of pain. A comparison of mothers whose labor ended with or without epidural analgesia corroborated previous findings that the level of pain toward the end of an experience greatly influences the way the overall experience is remembered. Although both short- and long-term retention of memories of labor exhibited the peak-and-end effect, having given birth before weakened the effect 2 months after delivery.

Journal Article 14.2: Wager, T. D., & Atlas, L. Y. (2013). How is pain influenced by cognition? Neuroimaging weighs in. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(1), 91-97. doi:10.1177/1745691612469631

Abstract: Neuroimaging can inform cognitive theories to the extent that particular patterns of brain activity are sensitively and specifically associated with particular types of cognitive processes. We illustrate the utility of neuroimaging data in one specific case: understanding cognitive influences on pain. We first argue that pain self-reports are often inadequate to fully characterize pain experience and the processes that underlie it. Then, we describe how neuroimaging measures have been used to corroborate the effects of psychological manipulations on pain by focusing on placebo treatments and demonstrating effects on the best available correlates of pain experience. In addition, using placebo analgesia as an example, we argue that brain evidence is useful for building psychological theories likely to yield valid and generalizable predictions, because biologically informed theories are grounded in the constraints inherent in the relevant physiological systems. Finally, we suggest that neuroimaging findings will become increasingly useful for constraining psychological inference as brain patterns diagnostic of particular types of mental events are identified and characterized. In our view, the relationships between biological findings and cognitive theory are empirically based and must develop through an iterative process of synthesis across studies, topics, and methods.

Journal Article 14.3: Yau, J. M., Celnik, P., Hsiao, S. S., & Desmond, J. E. (2014). Feeling better: Separate pathways for targeted enhancement of spatial and temporal touch. Psychological Science, 25(2), 555-565. doi:10.1177/0956797613511467

Abstract: People perceive spatial form and temporal frequency through touch. Although distinct somatosensory neurons represent spatial and temporal information, these neural populations are intermixed throughout the somatosensory system. Here, we show that spatial and temporal touch can be dissociated and separately enhanced via cortical pathways that are normally associated with vision and audition. In Experiments 1 and 2, we found that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over visual cortex, but not auditory cortex, enhances tactile perception of spatial orientation. In Experiments 3 and 4, we found that anodal tDCS over auditory cortex, but not visual cortex, enhances tactile perception of temporal frequency. This double dissociation reveals separate cortical pathways that selectively support spatial and temporal channels. These results bolster the emerging view that sensory areas process multiple modalities and suggest that supramodal domains may be more fundamental to cortical organization.