Article

Brain responses to dynamic facial expressions of pain

Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany.
Pain (Impact Factor: 5.84). 01/2007; 126(1-3):309-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2006.08.033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The facial expression of pain is a prominent non-verbal pain behaviour, unique and distinct from the expression of basic emotions. Yet, little is known about the neurobiological basis for the communication of pain. Here, subjects performed a sex-discrimination task while we investigated neural responses to implicit processing of dynamic visual stimuli of male or female faces displaying pain or angry expressions, matched on expression intensity and compared to neutral expression. Stimuli were presented in a mixed blocked/event-related design while blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal was acquired using whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 1.5 Tesla. Comparable sustained responses to pain and angry faces were found in the superior temporal sulcus (STS). Stronger transient activation was also observed to male expression of pain (Vs neutral and anger) in high-order visual areas (STS and fusiform face area) and in emotion-related areas including the amygdala (highest peak t-value=10.8), perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and SI. Male pain compared to anger expression also activated the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, SII/posterior insula and anterior insula. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the implicit processing of male pain expression triggers an emotional reaction characterized by a threat-related response. Unexpectedly, several areas responsive to male expression, including the amygdala, perigenual ACC, and somatosensory areas, showed a decrease in activation to female pain faces (Vs neutral). This sharp contrast in the response to male and female faces suggests potential differences in the socio-functional role of pain expression in males and females.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Daniela Simon, Jul 07, 2015
2 Followers
 · 
191 Views
  • Source
    • "They found out that the MEG signals have recorded from frontal/prefrontal cortical areas of the brain has some differences in case of pleasant versus unpleasant stimuli [7]; see also [8] [9]. Different works have been reported on the investigation of the brain response to other kinds of stimulus such as emotional stimuli [10] [11] and pain stimuli [12] [13]. On the other hand, some scientists proposed some models of the human brain activity. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human brain response is the result of the overall ability of the brain in analyzing different internal and external stimuli and thus making the proper decisions. During the last decades scientists have discovered more about this phenomenon and proposed some models based on computational, biological, or neuropsychological methods. Despite some advances in studies related to this area of the brain research, there were fewer efforts which have been done on the mathematical modeling of the human brain response to external stimuli. This research is devoted to the modeling and prediction of the human EEG signal, as an alert state of overall human brain activity monitoring, upon receiving external stimuli, based on fractional diffusion equations. The results of this modeling show very good agreement with the real human EEG signal and thus this model can be used for many types of applications such as prediction of seizure onset in patient with epilepsy.
    Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine 01/2015; 2015. DOI:10.1155/2015/148534 · 1.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "The suitability and validity of this set of pictures was confirmed in two studies in our lab, one recognition study 1 (Baum et al., 2013a) and one dot-probe study already described in the introduction (Baum et al., 2013b). Furthermore, pictures extracted from the same set (Simon et al., 2006) were also used in two eyetracking studies referred to in the introduction (Vervoort et al., 2013; Liossi et al., 2014). For our study, we created 64 pairs of pictures (horizontally aligned). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background The vigilance-(attentional) avoidance hypothesis (VAH) developed for explaining phobic reactions describes an early attentional bias towards a feared stimulus followed by attentional avoidance of this stimulus. Such a pattern of attentional shifts might also be found when processing of pain-related stimuli is required. The purpose of the present study was to test the VAH for pain-associated stimuli, i.e., faces displaying pain, using the method of eye-tracking in a pain-free sample.Methods Forty-eight healthy participants observed pictures of faces displaying pain and other emotions (anger, joy), presented concurrently with neutral faces, while their gaze behaviours were recorded continuously.ResultsAnalysis of the time course of fixation durations revealed a distinct pattern for pain faces. Participants gazed at pain faces longer than at neutral faces at the beginning (up to 1000 ms) but reduced preference for pain faces increasingly thereafter (up to 2000 ms); this decline in vigilance did not occur for anger and joy faces. Strong fear of pain (Fear of Pain Questionnaire) tended to increase attentional preference for negative faces (pain, anger), a finding, which however did not reach significance.Conclusions We assume that initial vigilance for pain-associated stimuli might reflect an adaptive reaction to detect a potentially harmful stimulus. Subsequently, the pain-associated stimulus might be less attended for the purpose of mood regulation when all clear is given in this situation.
    European journal of pain (London, England) 12/2014; 19(6). DOI:10.1002/ejp.608 · 3.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • ", 2006 ) and the activation of pain - related brain regions ( Jackson , Meltzoff , & Decety , 2005 ; Ochsner et al . , 2008 ; Simon , Craig , Miltner , & Rainville , 2006 ) . These automatic , uncontrollable reactions are also accompanied by immediate attention and parallel controlled reflective appraisal of the causes of the other person ' s pain . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pain is mostly thought of as a problem-as debilitating or harmful. Despite its unpleasantness, however, under some conditions pain can be associated with positive consequences. In this review, we explore these positive biological, psychological, and social consequences of pain. We highlight three different domains in which pain may be considered to have positive consequences. First, pain facilitates pleasure by providing an important contrast for pleasurable experiences, increasing sensitivity to sensory input, and facilitating self-rewarding behavior. Second, pain augments self-regulation and enhancement by increasing cognitive control, reducing rumination, and demonstrating virtue. Third, pain promotes affiliation by arousing empathy from others, motivating social connection, and enhancing group formation. Drawing on evidence scattered across a range of academic fields, we provide for reflection on how pain is represented, generate insights into pain-seeking behavior, and draw attention to the role of painful experiences in maximizing positive outcomes.
    Personality and Social Psychology Review 04/2014; 18(3). DOI:10.1177/1088868314527831 · 7.55 Impact Factor