People who are especially afraid of pain may display attention biases that increase their risk for developing chronic pain following an injury. However, specific neurophysiological mechanisms underlying associations between elevated trait fear of pain levels and environmental cues that signal potential pain experiences are not well understood. To address this gap, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded among 39 high pain-fearful (H-FOP) and 36 low pain-fearful (L-FOP) adults exposed to potentially painful somatosensory stimulation cued by sensory pain words versus non-painful stimulation cued by neutral words. H-FOP group members displayed slower reaction times in judging somatosensory stimulation and rated stimulation to be more intense than L-FOP group members did. H-FOP group members also exhibited comparatively earlier peak latencies of P2 and N2 components during word cue presentations as well as weaker P3 amplitudes in processing non-painful stimulation cued by sensory pain words. These findings suggested that, among the high trait pain-fearful, exposure to word cues signaling potential pain results in the allocation of fewer cognitive resources towards processing somatosensory stimuli that are not actually painful. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.