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The Placebo Effect and the Relation Between Blood Pressure and Pain Sensitivity
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by Rebecca C. Kamody, Elizabeth Woltja, Ashley D. Bugeja, Sarah Jackson, and Suzanne G. Helfer - Adrian College
The goal of this study was to explore the relation between blood
pressure and pain sensitivity and examine how the presentation of a placebo
expectation affected this relation. We hypothesized that participants given
an expectation that a cream would reduce pain would report less pain than
participants not given this expectation. The results indicated that the
hypothesis was correct; participants given the placebo expectation
experienced less pain than participants in the control condition. We found
negative correlations between blood pressure and pain, such that
participants with lower blood pressure experienced the greatest pain. The
introduction of the placebo expectation did not affect this relation.
Similarly, the introduction of the placebo had no effect on blood pressure.
This research contributes to the understanding of responses to acute pain.
Winter 2011 | Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research (Vol. 16, No. 4, p. 175), published by Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2011, Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.