Study: can pain be an illusion?
Pain, although it has a warning function in the body, does not always appear where the injury has occurred. This was shown in a study by UJ researchers, who caused test subjects to incorrectly point m.in. the site of the pain stimulus given to them.
In some neuropsychological disorders patients have a sense that their hand does not belong to them; others may feel b le phantom limbs, which which they do not actually have. This m.in. Such disturbances prompt scientists to to test the bodily awareness of the. One of the syndromes in, which re have addressed such an area are researchers from the C-Lab Consciousness Research Laboratory at the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University (IP UJ).
To temporarily alter the sense of body awareness in the healthy wasps they studied b, they apply m.in. An experiment called the illusion of the rubber hand.
This is a frequently used experiment where a rubber hand is placed in front of the subject, e.g. right. For the illusion to occur the artificial hand should be in a place where the rym there is a real right hand. At the same time, this real right hand is covered up in front of the test person. The researcher strokes the rubber hand synchronously with the subject’s real hand, which remains hidden.
– When subjects feel a touch on their hand, and at the same time see a rubber hand being stroked, it is believed that there is a change in the spatial representation of the body. Since sight is our dominant sense, people begin to feel touch at this location in kt they see it. Then the strength of such an illusion is measured using m.in. questionnaires – explains Dr. Marta Siedlecka of the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University.
Researchers at IP UJ decided to measure the strength of the b lu felt by subjects subjected to the rubber hand illusion. Tested, healthy subjects were given stimuli b lowe in both – real – hands zar both before and after the illusion. When asking them b lu did not, however, see their hands, and therefore the place and moment when the stimulus was given to them b lowe.
The study showed – m Dr. Siedlecka – that in this hand, which ra was subjected to the illusion subjects felt a stronger b l than before the illusion and than on the other hand. This happened even though the stimuli given to them b lowe had the same strength. In addition, when the subjects were asked to indicate the place in which the rym they feel b l to also showed a location closer to the rubber hand than closer to their real hand, which ra was actually receiving the b stimulus lowy.
– This is very interesting, because it always seemed that b l is a very important stimulus for the body. nie important to locate it very precisely in the body. After all, it has a warning function and is supposed to motivate us to protect our body. However, it turned out that even the perception of b lu is susceptible to this kind of illusion – m i Dr. Siedlecka.
As IP UJ reports, on the sensation of b lu u os b subjects subjected to the rubber hand illusion have already conducted quite a few studies, but their results have not always been sp jne, e.g. due to the methodology used.
In previous studies, experimental subjects tended to see well the place where they re they were given a stimulus b lowy. In contrast, other studies show that when we know the moment of the task we b lu or we see a part of our body in which re is delivered to us, it w at the time b l becomes smaller. That’s why the researchers from the UJ decided to keep both hands of the subjects obscured while administering the b stimulus lowy.
– We think that in our study the main The other factor that causes b l was felt to be larger, there was a very high degree of uncertainty among the subjects about what was happening on the right side of their body. They couldn’t correctly point out where their right hand was; they couldn’t see the stimulus b lar and were unable to correctly indicate its location. This uncertainty may have compounded their subjective feeling of b lu – explains Dr. Siedlecka.
As he explains, understanding how the b perception and experience of one’s own body is related to the strength of the felt b lu may pom c in creating future therapies. – Adding our contribution to other studies, we can pom c determine under what conditions the experience b lu can increase or decrease – m i the researcher.
The results of the study were published in "The Journal of Pain".
Source dło: PAP – Science in Poland , Ewelina Krajczynska, fot. Jarmoluk/Pixabay