Pain and folk theory

Brain and Mind 1 (2):209-222 (2000)
Abstract
Pain is not a primitive sensory event but rather a complexperception and a process by which a person interacts with theinternal and external environments, constructs meaning, andengages in action. Because folk beliefs are central to meaning,folk concepts of pain play multiple causal roles in a painpatient's interaction with health care providers and others.In every case, the notion of pain is linked to a goal-directedbehavior that is useful to the person. The wide variation inconcepts of pain across individuals suffering with painunderscores the richness and complexity of the pain experience.In some cases involving chronic pain, the patient may form amaladaptive cluster of behaviors around the concept of pain.Patient beliefs and expectations are an important part of manychronic pain syndromes, and patients can benefit fromintervention directed at revising the individual's folk model of pain. Memetics offers a framework for identifying the memesthat patients hold and determining whether patient memes fitor clash with provider memes
Keywords pain  medicine  folk theory  consciousness  memetics
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DOI 10.1023/A:1010079214372
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