Pain is widely recognised as both a physical and emotional experience. While these aspects can be managed by many people, one of the most distressing and problematic components of pain is the influence it has on cognitive functioning. Within this research stream we adopt a functional account of pain considering the promotion of behavioural analgesia by interruption of current concerns and warning of potential danger. Our research pairs experimental, acute and chronic pain with a range of cognitive paradigms. These studies allow us to examine impaired performance as a result of pain as well as changes in cognitive strategy under painful conditions.
At present we are particularly interested in quantifying the impact of pain on ecologically valid measures of cognitive performance using a simulated errands task. We are also taking a systematic approach to examine the effect of both chronic and experimentally induced pain on human temporal perception and exploring the long term impact of this for pain related disability.