In a recent study, we showed that tactile perception can be enhanced by applying a placebo manipulation consisting of verbal suggestion and conditioning (Fiorio et al., Neuroscience 217:96-104, 2012). Whether this change in perception is related to a better tactile functioning is still unknown. Aim of this study is to investigate whether placebo-induced enhancement of tactile perception results in better somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT), as a proxy of tactile acuity. To this purpose, a group of subjects (experimental group) was verbally influenced and conditioned about the effect of an inert cream in enhancing tactile perception, while a control group was informed about the real nature of the cream. In both groups, we measured STDT before and after cream application, by means of pairs of electrical stimuli delivered on the index fingertip and separated by ascending inter-stimulus intervals. STDT was defined as the shortest time interval at which the two stimuli were perceived as separated. Results revealed an increase in subjective perception of stimulus intensity and a reduction of STDT only in the experimental group. This study proves that a placebo procedure, consisting of verbal suggestion and a short conditioning, can reduce the temporal discrimination threshold.

The somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold changes after a placebo procedure

Fiorio, Mirta
;
Emadi Andani, Mehran;Recchia, Serena;Tinazzi, Michele
2018

Abstract

In a recent study, we showed that tactile perception can be enhanced by applying a placebo manipulation consisting of verbal suggestion and conditioning (Fiorio et al., Neuroscience 217:96-104, 2012). Whether this change in perception is related to a better tactile functioning is still unknown. Aim of this study is to investigate whether placebo-induced enhancement of tactile perception results in better somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT), as a proxy of tactile acuity. To this purpose, a group of subjects (experimental group) was verbally influenced and conditioned about the effect of an inert cream in enhancing tactile perception, while a control group was informed about the real nature of the cream. In both groups, we measured STDT before and after cream application, by means of pairs of electrical stimuli delivered on the index fingertip and separated by ascending inter-stimulus intervals. STDT was defined as the shortest time interval at which the two stimuli were perceived as separated. Results revealed an increase in subjective perception of stimulus intensity and a reduction of STDT only in the experimental group. This study proves that a placebo procedure, consisting of verbal suggestion and a short conditioning, can reduce the temporal discrimination threshold.
Expectation
Placebo effect
Somatosensory system
Tactile perception
Temporal discrimination threshold
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1031101
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 1
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 2
social impact