Preparedness Theory Classical Conditioning

Preparedness Theory Classical Conditioning-34
Study information was provided electronically and verbally, and in printed form when preferred by the potential participant.Subjects were screened for exclusion criteria over the telephone or via email, and again on arrival for testing.

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In an acquisition phase, CS was paired with painful thermal stimulation, and CS- with nonpainful thermal stimulation.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.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).Participants who were excluded via these criteria were not considered further.An estimated sample size was computed using G*POWER (version 3.1.9.2, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Germany) [14].Participants were compensated at Au/hour for inconvenience and travel costs. All procedures conformed to the Helsinki Declaration and were approved by the institutional ethics committee.Inclusion criteria were pain-free status, age over 18 years, and ability to consent autonomously.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-.Our secondary aim was to investigate whether such pairing would alter subsequent perception of the CS relative to the CS-.

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