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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Oct 2022 - 14 Oct 2022


2022 Oct 11

Am J Clin Hypn

Do expectations influence pain? Recognizing Irving Kirsch’s contribution to our understanding of pain.


Pain is a universal experience that can take different forms, and it can be acute or chronic. Experimental pain, such as heat pain, can help us better understand the pain experience, as it induces transient, but robust central sensitization in participants. Central sensitization is considered a key underlying concept in the development and maintenance of chronic pain and is defined as an overly effective transmission of nociception in the central nervous system. Expectations can influence perceived pain intensity and treatment success. Irving Kirsch's work in the field of experimental pain has greatly contributed to our understanding of how expectations influence the pain experience. In this article, we present some of Kirsch's landmark studies in this area and discuss their (clinical) implications.