Psychologische Forschung

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 311–326 | Cite as

Some preliminary experiments on the mutual influence of pains

  • Karl Duncker


Mutual Influence 
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Ein Schmerz A schwächt einen in deutlichem Raumabstand gegebenen gleichzeitigen Schmerz P nach Maßgabe seiner relativen Intensität. Ein scharfes, eindringliches Geräusch oder eine intensive Muskelanstrengung wirken ähnlich. P wird stärker beeinflußt, wenn A noch “neu” oder (zeitlich) “Figur” gegenüber P ist. All dies deutet auf die “Dringlichkeit” von A als entscheidenden Faktor. Die Druckkomponente von P wird, wenn überhaupt, weniger beeinflußt als die Schmerzkomponente.

Weder Ablenkung der “Aufmerksamkeit” noch “Kontrast” (beides im üblichen Sinn) sind verantwortlich zu machen, und da kein Wettbewerb um die gleiche Bahn in Frage kommt, liegt auch nicht “Maskierung” (neurologisch verstanden) vor. Die Anzeichen sprechen für eine Veränderung zentraler Empfindlichkeit als Folge einer Verlagerung des Dringlichkeitszentrums.


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  1. 1.
    Head, Henry: Studies in Neurology, pp. 59, 259. London 1920. — Their findings about the sensibility to pain in “protopathic” areas show that the pain-threshold may be raised while at the same time the supraliminal pain is markedly increased. This amounts to saying that the limen is no measure of sensibility in general but only of sensibility to liminal stimuli — a finding which has its parallels in other fields of sensation.Google Scholar
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    A similar method has for example been used byC. Stumpf in determining the loudness of sounds [cf. Sitzgsber. preuß. Akad. Wiss.17 (1918)].Google Scholar
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    It goes without saying that the designation of a pain as “passive” is arbitrary in so far as it depends upon what pain was chosen for observation.Google Scholar
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    If I had been more interested in adaptation of pain, it would have been wiser to use pains with less pronounced pressure-components. — On adaptation s. e. g.Burns andDallenbach: Amer. J. Psychol.45 (1933).Google Scholar
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    A similar mutual independence of pain and its neutral concomitant (especially warmth) has recently been found in experiments on “habituation”, cf.K. Wilde: Zur Phänomenologie des Wärmeschmerzes. Psychol. Forsch.20 (1935).Google Scholar
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    The same dependence upon intensity, i. e. upon the relation between the intensities of A and P, was clearly brought out in another set of experiments, conducted on 8 subjects, where the quotient A/P ranged between 8 and 0.3. In these experiments A and P were applied simultaneously for the same length of time (3–4 seconds), i. e. A did not “break in upon” P. Besides both were caused by much sharper nails. — Since the results did not in any essential respect differ from those of table 1, I refrained from presenting them in detail.Google Scholar
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    This was also observed in some preliminary experiments.Google Scholar
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    On the contrary,v. Schiller andWolff found variation of auditory brightness resulting in parallel variation of visual brightness, cf. “Interrelation of different senses in perception”. Brit. J. Psychol.25 (1935). —Metzger, it is true, points to the possibility that certain experimental results be interpreted as effects of contrast exerted by “visual warmth” on tactual warmth. “Certain Implications in the concept of Gestalt”. Amer. J. Psychol.40 (1928).Google Scholar
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    Cf. p. 311. Cf. also that old midwifery method of giving to the woman in labour a pair of bridles to pull upon at the critical moments. This muscular activity does not only further the process of birth and prevent the patient from causing mischief by a diffuse struggling about, but its chief function is apparently to displace the center of urgency.Google Scholar
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    Note that, in terms of differences, a — sign means a rise and a +sign a drop. Thus the many — signs signify a general rise upon which A's effect on P is “super-imposed”.Google Scholar
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    The tendency of the effect to decrease with repetitions has already shown itself in table I.Google Scholar
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    Gesammelte kleinere Schriften zur Philosophie und Psychologie, 2. Teil, S. 72–251. Haag 1927. In this series of papers, extending from 1899–1909,G. Heymans reports on 5 different experiments in all of which the threshold of some sensation was raised by another simultaneous sensation belonging to the same modality: of one color (or taste) by the admixture of another color (or taste). of sounds and clicks by a simultaneous noise, of touch (or light) by a neighboring pressure (or light). A sixth experiment dealt with the effect of electrical sensations of the skin upon sound. —Heymans found the degree of inhibition throughout neatly proportional to the intensity of the inhibiting stimulus. This led him to regard all those cases, including the effect of pain on pain, as being of the same nature. By his general “law of inhibition” he also tried to account forWeber's law and ordinary contrast.Google Scholar
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    Cf. e. g.Eberhardt: Über die phänomenale Höhe und Stärke von Teiltönen. Psychol. Forsch.2 (1922).Google Scholar
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    Fletcher, H.: Speech and Hearing; London, New-York, 1929, Ch. 4.Google Scholar
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    Davis, H.: The Electrical Phenomena of the Cochlea and the Auditory Nerve. J. Acoust. Soc. Amer.6, Nr 4 (1935).Google Scholar
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    Schriever, H.: untersuchungen über die wechselseitige Verstärkung von Schmerz. Z. Biol.88 (1929).Google Scholar

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© Verlag von Julius Springer 1937

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  • Karl Duncker

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