Ongoing Pain as a Mental Workload Indexed by P300 Depression: Discrimination of Real and Feigned Pain Conditions

J. Peter Rosenfeld*, Meekyung Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Two groups of subjects were formed. One, a real pain group, was subjected to aversive pressure on the fingernail surface during pain‐only and pain‐tracking conditions. The second group (feigned pain) was instructed to feign pain during corresponding runs in which fingernail pressure was applied at a just noticeable (not painful) level. Both groups also simultaneously performed an auditory oddball (.8/.2) task during their pain‐only and pain‐tracking conditions, as well as during an initial (baseline‐1) and final (baseline‐2) baseline condition in which only the oddball task was performed. Oddball‐evoked P300 amplitudes were significantly different for the groups during the pain‐tracking and baseline‐2 conditions, with the amplitudes smaller in the real pain groups in both conditions. The pain‐only and pain‐tracking conditions in both groups caused significant P300 reductions in comparison with baseline‐1 values. P300 latencies did not differ as a function of either groups or conditions. 100% of the real pain subjects and 67% of the feigned pain subjects could be correctly classified using P300 amplitude‐derived indices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1991


  • Event‐related potentials
  • P300
  • Pain
  • Pain measurement
  • Resource allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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