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Reading words hurts: the impact of pain sensitivity on people’s ratings of pain-related words


Reuter, Kevin; Werning, Markus; Kuchinke, Lars; Cosentino, Erica (2017). Reading words hurts: the impact of pain sensitivity on people’s ratings of pain-related words. Language and Cognition, 9(3):553-567.

Abstract

This study explores the relation between pain sensitivity and the cognitive processing of words. 130 participants evaluated the pain-relatedness of a total of 600 two-syllabic nouns, and subsequently reported on their own pain sensitivity. The results demonstrate that pain-sensitive people associate words more strongly with pain than less sensitive people. In particular, concrete nouns like ‘syringe’, ‘wound’, ‘knife’, and ‘cactus’ are considered to be more pain-related for those who are more pain-sensitive. These findings dovetail with recent studies suggesting that certain bodily characteristics influence the way people form mental representations (Casasanto, 2009). We discuss three mechanisms which could potentially account for our findings: attention and memory bias, prototype analysis, and embodied cognition. We argue that, whereas none of these three accounts can be ruled out, the embodied cognition hypothesis provides a particularly promising view to accommodate our data.

Abstract

This study explores the relation between pain sensitivity and the cognitive processing of words. 130 participants evaluated the pain-relatedness of a total of 600 two-syllabic nouns, and subsequently reported on their own pain sensitivity. The results demonstrate that pain-sensitive people associate words more strongly with pain than less sensitive people. In particular, concrete nouns like ‘syringe’, ‘wound’, ‘knife’, and ‘cactus’ are considered to be more pain-related for those who are more pain-sensitive. These findings dovetail with recent studies suggesting that certain bodily characteristics influence the way people form mental representations (Casasanto, 2009). We discuss three mechanisms which could potentially account for our findings: attention and memory bias, prototype analysis, and embodied cognition. We argue that, whereas none of these three accounts can be ruled out, the embodied cognition hypothesis provides a particularly promising view to accommodate our data.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:1 September 2017
Deposited On:23 Oct 2019 13:31
Last Modified:23 Oct 2019 13:31
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1866-9808
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/langcog.2016.29

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