Vicarious influences on pain-threshold determinations

Kenneth D. Craig, Stephen M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Examined the effects of having models dissimulate different levels of pain susceptibility on Os' pain thresholds. 30 male undergraduates and a confederate model ostensibly received identical electric shocks, increasing from an undetectable level in increments of .5 ma. up to the level at which the S reported pain. Making responses contingent upon the S's ratings, the model either delayed or hastened advances along a 5-point rating scale of the severity of the experience. Observing a model tolerate pain led to pain thresholds more than 3 times greater than the thresholds reported by Ss observing a model who was less tolerant. Findings are discussed in the context of the effects of social influences on pain reports and theories of vicarious experience. (22 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1971
Externally publishedYes


  • pain-threshold determination, exposure to models with high vs. low tolerance levels for electric shock stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology


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