September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Human Pain Sensitivity Is Related To Visual But Not To Auditory Thresholds
Author Affiliations
  • Michele Mercer
    Dept of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Memorial University
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 996. doi:10.1167/15.12.996
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      Michele Mercer, Russell Adams; Human Pain Sensitivity Is Related To Visual But Not To Auditory Thresholds. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):996. doi: 10.1167/15.12.996.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: Last year (VSS 2014), we reported that adults’ ability to tolerate pain predicted performance on tests of spatial contrast sensitivity (CS). More specifically, those who were more sensitive to pain also showed higher sensitivity to contrast. It was suggested that the observed co-variation may be due to dopaminergic involvement. Here, we further explore these multisensory interactions by examining the relationship between spatial vision, pain and hearing, the latter a sense that appears to be influenced even more so by dopamine (Gitelman et al, 2013). Methods: Two measures of spatial contrast sensitivity (FACT, Vector Vision ) and a full audiometric assessment (100 to 8000Hz) was conducted in 144 healthy young adults (M = 23 yr; 84 females, 60 males). Within the same session, pressure algometry was used to assess pain threshold and tolerance on the pinky finger. Results: Correlational analyses revealed a strong relationship between all measures of CS and pressure pain (all r > - 0.52). Again, lower pain sensitivity was related with higher spatial CS. In addition, individual contrast sensitivity functions (CSF) correlated positively (r = 0.46) with audibility functions (the auditory counterpart of the CSF). However, auditory performance was unrelated with pressure pain threshold or tolerance Conclusions: Human adults show a relationship between spatial vision and pain sensitivity, between vision and hearing thresholds, but not between pain and auditory functioning. These results suggest the prominence of vision within basic sensory interactions. However dopaminergic involvement as a primary mediator of multisensory functioning is questioned somewhat by these data.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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