Effects of Experimentally Induced Pain on Mismatch Negativity Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract: Previous research has found that pain can exert a disruptive effect on cognitive processing. This experiment was conducted to extend previous research with participants with chronic pain. This report examines pain's effects on early processing of auditory stimulus differences using the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) in healthy participants while they experienced experimentally induced pain. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded using target and standard tones whose pitch differences were easy- or difficult-to-detect in conditions where participants attended to (active attention) or ignored (passive attention) the stimuli. Both attention manipulations were conducted in no pain and pain conditions. Experimentally induced ischemic pain did not disrupt the MMN. However, MMN amplitudes were larger to difficult-to-detect deviant tones during painful stimulation when they were attended than when they were ignored. Also, MMN amplitudes were larger to the difficult- than to the easy-to-detect tones in the active attention condition regardless of pain condition. It appears that rather than exerting a disruptive effect, the presence of experimentally induced pain enhanced early processing of small stimulus differences in these healthy participants.


  • Dick, Bruce D
  • Connolly, John
  • Houlihan, Michael E
  • McGrath, Patrick J
  • Finley, G Allen
  • Stroink, Gerhard
  • Clark, Alexander J

publication date

  • January 2006