“A subjective experience, who was alone suffers the most”

The activities of the new teaching laboratories of the Valsalva ward of the Morgagni-Pirantoni Hospital in Forlì started with the teacher Katia Mataruzzi, Professor of General Psychology in the Department of Specialist, Diagnostic and Experimental Medicine at the University of Bologna, together with Ariana Bagnes. “It is a unique experience that we are having in the Forli degree course with the cold stress test – explains the teacher -. For the future clinician, it is really necessary to be able to learn pain on an experiential level. It is always subjective experience, which depends on several factors: past experiences, fear, And expectations, and anticipatory anxiety. Our tests show that any situation that reduces anxiety and fear also reduces pain. Those who are sick and socially isolated feel more pain.”

“Specifically, a student in our laboratory undergoes a cold stress test to assess social variables that can influence the perception of pain – continues Professor Mataruzzi – with the aim of having the students acquire, through practical simulation, knowledge about how our mind works, i.e. the study of cognitive and emotional processes and how they allow us in connection with the outside world.One of the activities of the Psychology Lab wants to make the student, the future doctor, realize that pain is a subjective experience (International Association for the Study of Pain 2020) influenced by various factors, including personality traits, past experience and expectations, and associated fear and anxiety experiences that can cause pain, and the characteristics of the social context.”

“By conducting an experimental procedure for pain induction, the cold-pressure test – and it concluded – the student will have the opportunity to learn directly (experimental learning) not only a way to study pain perception but also how to ‘activate’ factors in the laboratory that modulate its intensity. Tests have shown that the patient He who is with people who have no romantic relationship with him suffers more pain. Trust works on pain. This once again underlines the importance of the doctor-patient relationship.”

Phil Schwartz

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