Reference : Attentional processing of itch
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Attentional processing of itch
van Laarhoven, Antoinette [> >]
van Damme, Stefaan [> >]
Lavrijsen [> >]
Van Ryckeghem, Dimitri mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) > ; Ghent University > Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology]
Crombez, Geert [> >]
Evers, Andrea [> >]
Psychological Research
[en] Itch is a prevalent somatosensory symptom thatcan be highly disabling , because it is likely to drawattention and, as a resu lt, may interfere with the perfor-mance of daily activities. Yet, research experimentallyinvestigating attention to itch is lacking. In this study weaimed to investigate attentional processing of itch usingmultiple behavioral attention tasks. Forty-one healthyparticipants performed (1) a modified Stroop task with itch-related words, (2) a dot-probe task with itch-related pic-tures, and (3) a rece ntly developed somatosensory attentiontask in which the effect of experimentally induced itch onthe localization of visual targets was examined. Addition-ally, a number of self-report questionnaires related tosomatosensory attentional processing were administered.Results indicated that participants’ attention was biasedtoward itch-related words and pictures assessed by meansof the dot- probe and modified Stroop task, respectively. Forthe somatosensory attention task, results showed that itchdid not significantly influence the allocation of attention.However, when taking into account the time course ofattention during the itch stimulus, data suggested thatparticipants tended to disengage attention away during theitch stimulus. This is the first study that indicates anattentional bias for itch, using methods that have previouslybeen validated for other sensations such as pain. In addi-tion, the newly developed somatosensory attention taskmay reflect the time course of attention toward a tonic itchstimulus.

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