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The effect of pain on reference memory for duration

Piovesan, A, Mirams, LR, Poole, H and Ogden, R (2021) The effect of pain on reference memory for duration. Psychological Research: an international journal of perception, attention, memory and action. ISSN 0340-0727

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Previous research has consistently reported that pain related stimuli are perceived as lasting longer than non-pain related ones, suggesting that pain lengthens subjective time. However, to date the investigation has been limited to the immediate effects of pain on time perception. The current study aims to investigate whether pain affects how a duration is recalled after a period of delay. In two experiments, participants were asked to complete four temporal generalisation tasks where they were required first to remember the duration of a standard tone (learning phase) and then to compare the standard duration to a series of comparison durations (testing phase). Using a 2x2 design, the four tasks differed in terms of whether participants were exposed to a painful or non-painful stimulus during the learning phase, and whether the testing phase started immediately or 15 minutes after the learning phase. Participants were exposed to low pain in Experiment 1 and high pain in Experiment 2. Two possible results were expected: pain could decrease temporal accuracy because pain disrupts cognitive processes required for accurate timing, or pain could increase temporal accuracy because pain facilitates memory consolidation. Contrary to expectations, results from both Experiments indicated that participants’ temporal performances were similar in the pain and no-pain conditions when testing occurred 15 minutes after the learning phase. Findings therefore suggest that pain neither disrupts nor enhances long-term memory representations of duration.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Springer
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2021 12:36
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2022 16:15
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14628
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