May 14, 2023

Fearful memories of pain stored in the prefrontal cortex could shape the experience of pain later in life

Posted by in category: neuroscience

While pain and fear are very different experiences, past studies showed that they can sometimes be closely related to one another. For instance, when many animals and humans are in dangerous or life-threatening situations, acute fear can suppress their perception of pain, allowing them to fully focus their attention on what is happening to them.

Conversely, research showed that when humans experience high levels of , they can create long-term and associative memories that make them fearful of situations that they associate with the pain they felt. These memories can in turn increase their sensitivity to pain or lead to the development of unhelpful behavioral patterns aimed at avoiding pain.

The increase in the intensity with which animals or humans perceive pain after very painful past experiences could be liked to their fearful anticipation of pain. The exact neural underpinnings of this process, however, are still poorly understood.

Leave a reply