Centre for Pain Research

Individual differences in pain

One of the challenges associated with the study of pain is that the experience and response to pain can be highly variable. People differ in their perception of similar levels of pain, and we even find that the same person can experience pain in different ways. A core interest of those working within the Centre for Pain Research is to try and understand how people differ in pain, as well as why. For example, one of our major programmes of research has been to examine why there are important sex differences in the perception of pain. Here we investigate the various psychosocial mechanisms that may help explain why sex and gender may result in variation in pain, and include emotional and cognitive factors. Although pain is subjective, it does not occur in isolation, and we are currently examining social-contextual influences, and how these may influence individual differences in pain. For example, we are currently developing our interests in the nonverbal communication of pain in men and women.

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