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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jun 2019 - 21 Jun 2019


Human Studies

2019 Oct




Pain-related gaze biases and later functioning among adults with chronic pain: a longitudinal eye-tracking study.


In previous studies that examined the impact of attention biases (ABs) on later pain outcomes, reaction times (RTs) in response to brief stimulus presentations had been used as measures of attention. Consequently, little is known about effects of ABs assessed during presentations of cues or biases in prolonged attention towards pain stimuli as influences on subsequent functioning. To address these gaps, 89 adults with chronic pain (68 women, 21 men) engaged in a baseline dot-probe task in which visual attention was tracked during injury-neutral (I-N) image pair presentations as well as a 6-month follow-up reassessing pain intensity and interference from pain. Neither RTs to probes after image pair offsets nor biases in initial orienting of gaze towards injury images predicted follow-up outcomes. However, participants who gazed at injury images for longer durations during I-N trials reported significantly more pain and interference at follow-up than did peers who gazed at injury images for less time, even after the impact of other significant baseline predictors had been controlled. In sum, results provided initial evidence for gaze biases reflecting prolonged vigilance towards pain-related information as a potential risk factor for relative elevations in pain and interference from chronic pain.