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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 May 2020 - 5 Jun 2020


Human Studies


2020 Jun 03

Acta Derm Venereol

Attentional Bias Towards Visual Itch and Pain Stimuli in Itch- and Pain-free Individuals?


Becker JM, Vreijling SR, Dobbinga S, Giesbers JJJ, Evers AWM, Veldhuijzen DS, van Laarhoven AIM
Acta Derm Venereol. 2020 Jun 03.
PMID: 32488280.


Itch and pain are important attention-demanding sensations that allow adaptive responses to potential bodily harm. An attentional bias towards itch and pain stimuli, i.e. preferential attention allocation towards itch- and pain-related information, has been found in healthy, as well as patient groups. However, it remains unclear whether attentional bias for itch and pain differs from a general bias towards negative information. Therefore, this study investigated attentional bias towards itch and pain in 70 itch- and pain-free individuals. In an attention task, itch- and pain-related stimuli, as well as negative stimuli, were presented alongside neutral stimuli. The results did not indicate an attentional bias towards itch-, pain-, and negative visual information. This finding suggests that people without itch and pain symptoms do not prioritize itch- and pain-related information above neutral information. Future research should investigate whether attention towards itch- and pain-related information might be biased in patients with chronic itch and pain.