Is touch gating due to sensory or cognitive interference? An investigation using repeated testing Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Harper, Daniel Elliott
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • The present study was conducted to determine whether touch gating, in which pain decreases tactile sensitivity, is the result of sensory or cognitive interference. Touch gating was repeatedly produced by delivering a co-localized painful heat stimulus (45 C) during measurements of vibration threshold on the palm. Pain significantly increased thresholds compared to those measured at normal skin temperature and this interference did not decline over the course of the experiments, despite the fact that perceived pain significantly habituated. For comparison, Stroop interference was also measured repeatedly; this cognitive interference declined significantly across sessions and bore no resemblance to touch gating interference. Touch gating was not correlated with measures of distractibility, fear of pain, hypervigilance, or anxiety - variables previously found to contribute to pain's ability to cause cognitive interference. Taken together, the results suggest that touch gating is a sensory phenomenon, one that cannot be explained by pain's capability to distract.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Hollins, Mark
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2011

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