Is Pain “All in your Mind”? Examining the General Public’s Views of Pain

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (3):683-698 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

By definition, pain is a sensory and emotional experience that is felt in a particular part of the body. The precise relationship between somatic events at the site where pain is experienced, and central processing giving rise to the mental experience of pain remains the subject of debate, but there is little disagreement in scholarly circles that both aspects of pain are critical to its experience. Recent experimental work, however, suggests a public view that is at odds with this conceptualisation. By demonstrating that the public does not necessarily endorse central tenets of the “mental” view of pain (subjectivity, privacy, and incorrigibility), experimental philosophers have argued that the public holds a more “body-centric” view than most clinicians and scholars. Such a discrepancy would have important implications for how the public interacts with pain science and clinical care. In response, we tested the hypothesis that the public is capable of a more “mind-centric” view of pain. Using a series of vignettes, we demonstrate that in situations which highlight mental aspects of pain the public can, and does, recognize pain as a mental phenomenon. We also demonstrate that the public view is subject to context effects, by showing that the public’s view is modified when situations emphasizing mental and somatic aspects of pain are presented together.

Similar books and articles

The Intentional Structure of Consciousness.Tim Crane - 2002 - In Aleksandar Jokic & Quentin Smith (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 33-56.
The Meaning of Pain Expressions and Pain Communication.Emma Borg, Nathaniel Hansen & Tim Salomons - 2019 - In Marc A. Russo, Joletta Belton, Bronwyn Lennox Thompson, Smadar Bustan, Marie Crowe, Deb Gillon, Cate McCall, Jennifer Jordan, James E. Eubanks, Michael E. Farrell, Brandon S. Barndt, Chandler L. Bolles, Maria Vanushkina, James W. Atchison, Helena Lööf, Christopher J. Graham, Shona L. Brown, Andrew W. Horne, Laura Whitburn, Lester Jones, Colleen Johnston-Devin, Florin Oprescu, Marion Gray, Sara E. Appleyard, Chris Clarke, Zehra Gok Metin, John Quintner, Melanie Galbraith, Milton Cohen, Emma Borg, Nathaniel Hansen, Tim Salomons & Grant Duncan (eds.), Meanings of Pain: Volume 2: Common Types of Pain and Language. Springer Verlag. pp. 261-282.
The Polysemy View of Pain.Michelle Liu - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (1):198-217.
The Bodily Theory of Pain.Erlend Winderen Finke Owesen - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (4):1329-1347.
The social dimension of pain.Abraham Olivier - 2024 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 23 (2):375-408.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-04-24

Downloads
344 (#63,500)

6 months
201 (#17,654)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Nat Hansen
University of Reading
James Stazicker
King's College London
Emma Borg
University of Reading

References found in this work

Unfelt pain.Kevin Reuter & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Synthese 197 (4):1777-1801.
Pain, paradox and polysemy.Michelle Liu - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):461-470.
Hallucinating Pain.Kevin Reuter, Phillips Dustin & Justin Sytsma - 2014 - In Justin Sytsma (ed.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind. New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 75-100.

View all 8 references / Add more references