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PSY402 - Experimental Psychology

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    Question 1.
    How human being experience sensation of pain, discuss with the help of Gate Control Theory.

    Sensation of pain:
    The skin is prone to the four type of sensations include; pressure, touch, pain and temperature. These senses are essential for the survival of human beings. It has found in the researches that significant number of people everyday visits the physician or health care provider with the complaint of pain. It includes all types of pain like, migraine, heart pain, arthritis, and back pain etc. it has found that not the whole body has same pain receptors, these receptors are not distributed evenly throughout the body some areas like fingertips are more sensitive, rather others like center of the back is not.
    The experience of pain is also studied in the context of salutations as well. It has found that the situation and social and cultural context of the pain also impacts on the experience of pain. The examples of differences in the perceptual differences in the pain due to social and cultural situations include; labor pain and in comparison, to this any other pain like back pain. The Gate Control Theory has also elaborated the role of situation, perception and other contexts in the experience of pain.
    Gate control theory
    The theory has stated that there are certain nerve receptors which leads to the certain areas of the brain, associated with pain. These receptors are activated in result of any injury or harm occurred and “gate” of the brain is opened in response to this. In this manner, we experience the sensation of pain. Additionally, theory also identifies another kind of neural receptors which, in result of stimulation, close the ‘gate’ of pain in the brain. It reduces the experience of pain. There are two ways of shutting the gate of pain in the brain. First way is that other impulses take over to the extend that brain get distracted and that certain pain sensation does not remain to the attention of the individual anymore and these gates are shutdown. The alternative stimulus can be non-painful like rubbing the skin around the pain, or it could be painful as well like scratching in the result of itching which gives relief from itching but scratching itself is categorized as a form of pain.
    The second factor which is attributed as cause the gate of pain to be shutdown includes psychological factors. There are three psychological factors which impacts the pain or close the gate of pain receptors; current emotions, previous experiences, and interpretation of the event by the individual. During the experience of these three psychological factors, brain may close the gate of pain by sending the message to the injured area through spinal cord. It causes reduction or relief from the pain. The example of such situation includes; soldiers do not feel pain when they fighting for a major and big cause.

    Question 2.
    What are the cultural differences in the experience of pain? Logically discuss with reference to Eastern & Western culture.

    Cultural differences in pain
    The gate-control theory explains the cultural difference as well in the experience of pain. The same psychological factors play the role in the cultural context as well. It has seen that many

    culturally acceptable and especially sacred practices, involves pain but have high moral values behind it, minimize the pain of people. There are many examples in this regard in the various cultures like acupuncture prevails in the Chinese culture, in which micro size needles are poked in the body of individual to treat the biological issues, in the Muslim culture ‘hajama’ is another example. The theory explains that such experiences of pain which are associated with cultural rituals, close the gateway of pain due to three main psychological factors like the current emotions include pleasant feeling of doing something good, previous belief about this is having a good cause of doing the practice and it will benefit the individual, and interpretation of the current event is also positive.
    Eastern culture
    In the eastern culture there are many examples which show that people tend to adopt painful rituals and their pain experience minimizes due to the cultural context.
    Ashura is an example found in the eastern culture in which people does self-flagellation. This experience does not bring pain to them to that extend it could have brought otherwise. Pakistani culture presents this example prevalent in the society. It can be witnessed in the Islamic month ‘Muharam’ (especially, 9th and 10th of this month).
    Finger cutting as part of the mourning is another example of cultural experience of pain. It has found in the ‘Western New Guinea province of Indonesia’ a tribe named Dani has a unique way of mourning over the loss of their loved ones. As part of their culture, it is considered as customary to cut the women’s top half of the finger. It happened during the funeral ceremony or as a part of the ceremony.
    Western culture
    Western culture also has some rituals or cultural traditions which are painful but still those are being practiced as part of the cultural norm or ritual and experience of pain is not similar to the

    pain otherwise. Bull fighting is one of the examples of experience of pain. In this game there are many chances of people to get injured and harmed but this pain is not considered as usual pain experience.
    The second example of this kind is Spanish bull running festival. In this festival people are aware of the harm and danger involve in this game but in spite of this, millions of people take part of this game and every year many people get injured badly and some even loss their lives.
    These examples have shown that gate control theory of pain describes the psychological factors and cultural aspects which close the gate of pain, in fact prevails globally. People tend to experience less or no pain in the cultural rituals as compare to the usual situations, and culture also plays an important role in changing the experience of pain.

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