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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Apr 2023 - 21 Apr 2023

Psychology, Translational

Human Studies, Neurobiology

Acute Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Apr 19

Sci Rep




Red induces hyperalgesia and white induces hypoalgesia regardless of pain modality.


Wiercioch-Kuzianik K, Brączyk J, Bieniek H, Bąbel P


Colors are an important factor that influences different aspects of people’s lives. However, little is known about the effects of colors on pain. This preregistered study aimed to investigate whether the type of pain affects the impact of colors on pain intensity. 74 participants were randomly divided into 2 groups according to the type of pain: electrical or thermal. In both groups, pain stimuli of the same intensity were preceded by different colors. Participants rated the pain intensity induced by each pain stimulus. Additionally, pain expectations related to each color were rated at the beginning and the end of the procedure. A significant effect of color on pain intensity ratings was found. Pain was most intense in both groups after red, whereas the lowest ratings were given after white. A similar pattern of results was observed for pain expectations. Expectations also correlated with and were found to be a predictor of experienced pain for white, blue, and green. The study shows that white can reduce, while red can alter the experienced pain. Moreover, it shows that the effect of colors is affected to a greater extent by the pain expectations rather than the pain modality. We conclude that the way colors influence pain broadens the current knowledge on effects of colors on human behavior and could help in the future both patients and practitioners.