Cardiovascular and perceptual effects of reporting pain during the foot and forehead cold pressor tests

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6 Scopus citations


In research involving the cold pressor test, a tacit presumption is often made that reporting pain during stimulation is not in itself reactive. This study examined whether, for the foot and forehead cold pressor tests, activities involved in reporting pain may affect (a) the evoked pattern of cardiovascular response, and (b) the magnitude of self-perceived pain. In 40 normotensive college men, increases in systolic blood pressure were greater during test sessions that included verbal ratings of pain, as compared to sessions in which pain was not reported. In contrast to its effect on physiological activation, reporting pain did not significantly alter the participant's perception of the painfulness of the test, on recollection shortly after the test. We conclude, therefore, that reporting pain during the cold pressor test may impose significant additional demands on the cardiovascular system, but it does not interfere significantly with the processing of nociceptive information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-117
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of behavioral medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Cold pressor test
  • Foot
  • Forehead
  • Impedance cardiography
  • Pain ratings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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