Pain pp 171-194 | Cite as

The Development of a Pain Perception Profile: A Psychophysical Approach

  • Bernard Tursky


Recently I visited the laboratory of a prominent neurologist who is involved in highly sophisticated nerve conduction research. He also maintains a private practice and is much sought after as a specialist and consultant. We talked about his research and he proudly described to me in great detail the complexities of his laboratory equipment, which had the appearance of a miniature space program launch facility. He was very articulate about his ability to manipulate all the physical and experimental variables in his research and took pains to explain how carefully he measured and controlled noise in his recording system. Our conversation finally shifted to my interests and I described some of my ideas about the need for developing methods to evaluate the individual patient’s perception of pain. I asked him how he made such evaluations in his medical practice and what special instruments he used for this purpose. His answer was to reach into his pocket and solemnly produce a large safety pin which he identified, with almost the same amount of pride as he had expressed for his complex laboratory instruments, as his major test instrument in evaluating his patients’ pain sensitivity. I do not have any objection to my friend’s use of the safety pin but, if he is going to use it as a clinical test instrument, I, as a concerned scientist, want to know how the instrument is calibrated. That is, how sharp is the pin and how much force is used to prick the patient.


Sound Pressure Magnitude Estimation Tactile Stimulation Category Scale Regression Bias 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Tursky
    • 1
  1. 1.New York State University at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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