Division of Intramural Research
Work in the Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain focuses on characterizing the psychological and neural mechanisms by which expectations and other cognitive and affective factors influence pain, emotional experience, and clinical outcomes. Our approach is multi–modal: we integrate experimental psychology, neuroimaging, psychophysiology, computational approaches, and other interventions to understand how psychological and contextual factors influence subjective experience. Current projects focus on dissociating components of expectancy, relating pain with other types of hedonic affective responses, and understanding various forms of expectancy (e.g., placebo effects versus cue–based predictions). Long–term goals include revealing how specific features of the clinical context and interpersonal aspects influence patient outcomes, as well as determining whether expectancy–based processing is altered in specific patient populations.