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Jumping to conclusions in persistent pain using a somatosensory modification of the beads task

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oriana Bezzina, Professor Mark FreestonORCiD, Dr Lucy Robinson


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© 2019Background: There is theoretical and empirical evidence that persistent pain occurs because of a distortion in top-down perceptual processes. ‘Jumping to conclusions’ (JTC) tasks, such as the beads task, purportedly capture these processes and have yet to be studied in people with chronic pain. However, the beads task uses visual stimuli, whereas tasks involving processing in the somatosensory domain seem at least more face valid in this population. This study uses a novel somatosensory adaptation of the beads task to explore whether a JTC reasoning style is more common in people with persistent pain compared controls. Methods: 30 persistent pain patients and 30 age-, gender- and education-matched controls completed the visual beads JTC task and a novel somatosensory version of the JTC task that used tactile stimuli (vibrations to the fingertip). Findings: Patients with persistent pain showed a ‘jumping to conclusions’ reasoning style on both tasks compared to the control group and there was no significant difference in the effect sizes on the two tasks. Interpretation: This preliminarily study demonstrated that individuals with persistent pain show a JTC reasoning style to both visual and somatosensory stimuli. Future research should focus on establishing how or whether this bias directly influences the experience of persistent pain.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Parkes C, Bezzina O, Chapman A, Luteran A, Freeston MH, Robinson LJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Year: 2019

Volume: 126

Print publication date: 01/11/2019

Online publication date: 28/08/2019

Acceptance date: 28/08/2019

ISSN (print): 0022-3999

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1360

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.109819


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