Theses Doctoral

The Neural and Psychological Constituents of Placebo and Distraction

Buhle, Jason

Both placebo and distraction have long been used clinically to relieve pain. The present series of experiments examined the neural and cognitive processes that constitute these two psychological forms of analgesia. Study 1 provides evidence that overlapping cognitive resources are involved in both pain and executive attention and working memory. Study 2 provides evidence that these same executive attention and working memory resources are not involved in placebo analgesia, and that placebo analgesia and distraction provide separate routes to pain relief. Study 3 suggests that while distraction-based analgesia reduces the neural signature of pain, expectancy-driven placebo analgesia may not.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Wager, Tor D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 28, 2013