Pain research is often focused on escape from pain or approach of relief, yet individuals with chronic pain make complex choices to face their pain to satiate other drives (approach-avoidance conflicts). An abundance of research has indicated that prefrontal alpha band asymmetry (PFA) underlies approach-avoidance in general, but there is limited information about whether PFA underlies pain approach-avoidance conflicts. Electroencephalogram activity was recorded while 70 participants with chronic pain (n=33) and without chronic pain (n=37) approached/avoided stimuli containing simultaneous pain (low-high) and monetary reward (low-high). Findings from both studies revealed that approach-avoidance for pain stimuli is not accompanied by prefrontal asymmetry, irrespective of the presence of chronic pain.
Brown, Tracy W.; Colpitts, Kayli N.; Botello, Cristian M.; Hartman, Abby K.; Seymour, Kathryn P.; De La Cerda, Callie; and Harris Bozer, Amber L. (2023) "Alpha band prefrontal asymmetry does not underlie pain approach-avoidance: Results from two EEG studies," Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 29: No. 1, Article 22. Available at: https://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol29/iss1/22
Modern Psychological Studies