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Katie Phillips

Analgesic Effects of Mindfulness Meditation



Katie Phillips ’22



Faculty Mentor(s):

Aaron Mitchel, Psychology

Funding Source:

H Royer Undergraduate Research Fund


Mindfulness meditation focuses on being aware of the present moment and prior research suggests it can modify the perception of pain. When used as a coping strategy, mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance and threshold. However, most mindfulness techniques focus on a single sense at a time. In other domains, multisensory input enhances perceptual processing, and adding a multisensory component to standard mindfulness meditation might increase the analgesic effects. The present study examined the effects of an added multisensory component to mindfulness meditation on pain perception during a cold pressor test. Three groups, a control group, a mindfulness meditation group, and a multisensory mindfulness meditation group, completed a baseline cold pressor test and a second cold pressor test where pain threshold, tolerance, and intensity were measured. Between the first and second tests, the mindfulness groups were given instructions to practice mindfulness meditation. We hypothesized that while a standard mindfulness technique would increase the duration for acute pain threshold and tolerance, an added multisensory component would show a longer duration for pain tolerance and threshold than a standard mindfulness technique and the control groups. Preliminary results have not supported this hypothesis; thus, we consider alternative explanations for our results.


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