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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Jun 2023 - 9 Jun 2023

Methodology, Psychology

Human Studies


2023 May 31

J Pain


Development and Evaluation of Linguistic Stimuli for Pain Research.


Vermeir JF, White MJ, Johnson D, Crombez G, Van Ryckeghem DML


Linguistic stimuli are commonly used in research to investigate the processing of pain. To provide researchers with a dataset of pain-related and non-pain-related linguistic stimuli, this research investigated 1) the associative strength between pain-related words and the pain construct; 2) the pain-relatedness ratings of pain words; and 3) the variability in the relatedness of pain words within pain word classifications (e.g., sensory pain words). In Study 1, 194 pain-related and matched non-pain-related words were retrieved by reviewing the pain-related attentional bias literature. In Study 2, adults with (n=85) and without (n=48) self-reported chronic pain completed a speeded word categorisation paradigm and rated the pain-relatedness of a subset of pain words. Analyses revealed that 1) despite differences in associative strength of 11.3% of the words between chronic and non-chronic pain groups, no overall group difference was found, 2) the chronic pain group rated the pain words as more pain-related compared to the non-chronic pain group, and 3) there was variability in the relatedness of pain words within pain word classifications. The findings highlight the importance of validating linguistic pain stimuli. The resulting dataset is openly accessible and new published sets can be added to the Linguistic Materials for Pain (LMaP) Repository. PERSPECTIVE: This article presents the development and preliminary evaluation of a large pool of pain-related and non-pain-related words in adults with and without self-reported chronic pain. Findings are discussed and guidelines are offered to select the most suitable stimuli for future research.