Physical Pain Perception & Suicide Risk

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Here are pictures of undergraduate research assistant, Cynthia Rodriguez, demonstrating the use of the cold pressor task.  The cold pressor task involves asking participants to submerge their hand in very cold water.  In our lab, we use the cold pressor and a heat-inducing machine (called the thermal neurosensory analyzer) to assess sensitivity and tolerance of physical pain.  The interpersonal theory of suicide theorizes that pain perception is linked to suicide risk, and this is a hypothesis that we test with our research.  If you are interested in learning more about our research on pain perception, below are some papers on this topic:

Witte, T.K., Gordon, K.H., Smith, P.N., & Van Orden, K.A. (2012). Stoicism and sensation seeking: Male vulnerability for the acquired capability for suicideJournal of Research in Personality, 46, 384-392.

Bender, T.W., Gordon, K.H., Bresin, K., & Joiner, T.E. Jr. (2011). Impulsivity and suicidality: The mediating role of painful and provocative experiences. Journal of Affective Disorders,129, 301-307.

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