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Anterolateral prefrontal cortex mediates the analgesic effect of expected and perceived control over pain


Wiech, K; Kalisch, R; Weiskopf, N; Pleger, B; Stephan, K E; Dolan, R J (2006). Anterolateral prefrontal cortex mediates the analgesic effect of expected and perceived control over pain. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(44):11501-11509.

Abstract

Perceived control attenuates pain and pain-directed anxiety, possibly because it changes the emotional appraisal of pain. We examined whether brain areas associated with voluntary reappraisal of emotional experiences also mediate the analgesic effect of perceived control over pain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we compared self-controlled noxious stimuli with physically identical stimuli that were externally controlled. Self-controlled stimulation was accompanied by less pain and anxiety and higher activation in dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC), right dorsolateral, and bilateral anterolateral prefrontal (alPFC) cortices. Activation in dACC and right alPFC was negatively correlated with pain intensity ratings. For externally controlled pain, activation in right alPFC was inversely correlated with the participants' general belief to have control over their lives. Our results are consistent with a reappraisal view of control and suggest that the analgesic effect of perceived control relies on activation of right alPFC. Failure to activate right alPFC may explain the maladaptive effects of strong general control beliefs during uncontrollable pain.

Abstract

Perceived control attenuates pain and pain-directed anxiety, possibly because it changes the emotional appraisal of pain. We examined whether brain areas associated with voluntary reappraisal of emotional experiences also mediate the analgesic effect of perceived control over pain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we compared self-controlled noxious stimuli with physically identical stimuli that were externally controlled. Self-controlled stimulation was accompanied by less pain and anxiety and higher activation in dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC), right dorsolateral, and bilateral anterolateral prefrontal (alPFC) cortices. Activation in dACC and right alPFC was negatively correlated with pain intensity ratings. For externally controlled pain, activation in right alPFC was inversely correlated with the participants' general belief to have control over their lives. Our results are consistent with a reappraisal view of control and suggest that the analgesic effect of perceived control relies on activation of right alPFC. Failure to activate right alPFC may explain the maladaptive effects of strong general control beliefs during uncontrollable pain.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:31 Oct 2011 11:35
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 04:00
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2568-06.2006
PubMed ID:17079679

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