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Pain and Consciousness 

Pain and Consciousness
Chapter:
Pain and Consciousness
Source:
Pain: Dynamics and Complexities
Author(s):

Daniel M. Doleys

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199331536.003.0013

To the extent that consciousness implies a certain degree of awareness or attention, what happens to the pain when one is not consciously aware of it? Does pain require an observer, in the quantum theory sense of the term? Does consciousness serve the function of the observer? Does pain reside in some type of superposition until it is attended to? The term nonconscious is distinguished from and used in place of unconscious. Devor’s notion that the cortex may not be the major cite for pain and conscious experience but that subcortical structures may play a major role in the pain experience is reviewed. The ‘developmental model of pain’ described in part by Leventhal in 1984 and Derbyshire in 1999 is put forth as a possible compromise for the debate between and Anand and Derbyshire. There is general agreement that where pain is concerned, infants are not simple little adults. Several theories of consciousness including the of Mae-Wan Ho (Quantum Mind Theory), Chapman and Nakamura Systems-Based theory, Tononi and Edleman Dynamic Core Hypothesis, Damasio’s Somatic-Marker approach, and Craig’s cinemascopic model of awareness or ‘consciousness’ are presented. The author’s model emphasizes that nociceptive input, from the periphery or internal organs, is certainly sufficient for the experience of pain, but not necessary. The model involved nonconscious parallel processing regarding the elements of sensory and affective awareness resulting in a perceptual awareness and the experience of pain.

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