Preparedness Theory Classical Conditioning

Preparedness Theory Classical Conditioning-18
One possibility is that associative learning drives this transition [5,6].

One possibility is that associative learning drives this transition [5,6].In an acute pain episode, the simultaneous occurrence of nociceptive and non-nociceptive signaling presents a scenario that is apt to classical conditioning, a form of associative learning that occurs through the repeated presentation of a biologically evocative stimulus (unconditioned stimulus [US], e.g., a nociceptive stimulus) with an initially neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus [CS], e.g., a tactile stimulus).We hypothesized that pairing of one non-nociceptive somatosensory stimulus (CS ) with painful nociceptive heat (UShigh) and another (CS-) with nonpainful heat (USlow) would result in a lower pain threshold to subsequent trials of heat that were paired with the CS than to trials that were paired with the CS-.

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Associative learning has been proposed as a mechanism behind the persistence of pain after tissue healing.

The simultaneous occurrence of nociceptive and non-nociceptive input during acute injury mimics the pairings thought to drive classical conditioning effects.

An extensive body of scientific literature supports the idea that nociception is not always necessary for pain (see [9] for an accessible review).

Additionally, classical conditioning is known to be a dominant mechanism behind the maintenance of fear of pain [10] and increased muscular responses to nondangerous stimuli [11]—two phenomena that are commonly seen in people with chronic pain.

After this pairing has occurred, the initially neutral stimulus comes to carry informational value about the likelihood of the biologically evocative stimulus and can evoke a response even in the absence of such a US [7].

The idea that an association would be formed between tissue damage–driven nociception and other non-nociceptive input during the acute phase of an injury seems intuitive.

We also explored the influence of gender, depression, anxiety, negative affect, and pain catastrophizing on the main manipulation. Thirty-four healthy humans participated in a differential classical conditioning procedure that used vibrotactile stimulations at two different locations as CS.

In an acquisition phase, CS was paired with painful thermal stimulation, and CS- with nonpainful thermal stimulation.

A recent systematic review found that, although existing pain can be via classical conditioning [12]—in other words, that a normally nonpainful stimulus can be rendered painful (allodynia) by a classical conditioning effect.

In fact, despite the idea’s intuitive nature and widespread clinical endorsement, only one study reports to have elicited pain using classical conditioning [13].


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