The Effects of Induced Pain on Measures of Executive Functioning
MetadataShow full metadata
Cognitive complaints are frequently reported by patients with chronic pain, but studies of the effects of pain on different forms of cognition have reported inconsistent findings. In two studies, cold-pressor pain was induced in nonclinical undergraduate volunteers who, under normal conditions, completed the color word interference subtest (CWIT), trail making subtest (TM) and verbal fluency subtests (VF) of the Delis Kaplan Executive Functions System battery (D-KEFS), followed by same or alternate D-KEFS subtests taken during either cold-pressor pain induction or a non-painful control condition. Included in this two part study was the presence of a simulator group which was instructed to convincingly simulate cognitive impairment. Only those participants who attempted to appear impaired demonstrated significantly poorer performances. These results indicate that induced pain is not associated with poor performance on tasks associated with these D-KEFS subtests, but may be associated with deficit exaggeration or other factors. Generalizability of these findings may be limited by the fact that patients with chronic pain may differ in their pain experience from nonclinical volunteers with induced pain.