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An Investigation of Stress-Induced Analgesia in Cognitive Competitive Task

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dc.contributor.advisor Sternberg, Wendy Lauber, Katherine 2014-01-14T20:05:33Z 2014-01-14T20:05:33Z 2001
dc.description.abstract Stress-induced analgesia is a phenomenon that has been demonstrated on multiple occasions in humans in laboratory settings (Willer et al., 1981; Jungkunz et al., 1984). Most research on stress-induced analgesia in humans has focused on exercise and athletic-competition produced analgesia. Previous studies in this laboratory have been aimed at discovering what aspects of athletic competition create analgesia. This study is specifically targeted at investigating the cognitive competitive aspects of a sedentary task. This study focuses on the cognitive competitive mindset aspect of competition and questions whether that mindset can create analgesia. Sex-differences in competition are also a large interest of this study. 48 subjects (24 male, 24 female) from the Haverford College community participated in one of two competitive tasks, a video game or word games. The study is a 2x2 mixed factorial design, with sex of subject and day (baseline vs. competition) being the two independent variables. After a baseline session or competing in one of the competitive tasks, subjects completed a cold-pressor test as a pain measure to determine analgesic effects. Pain data, mood scale ratings, physiological data and questionnaire data about the competitive task were then compared to baseline ratings in each subject. The study produced no significant differences in pain rating as a result of competition. However, mood scale (SSR) ratings and physiological data acquired from the subjects demonstrated significant levels of stress in the subjects from baseline to task days. Reasons for why seemingly significant levels of stress and arousal in the subjects failed to produce analgesia are discussed and possible areas of future research are suggested.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Psychology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Pain -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Analgesia -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Mental work -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Competition (Psychology) -- Sex differences
dc.title An Investigation of Stress-Induced Analgesia in Cognitive Competitive Task
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only

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