Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Charles R. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Craig S. Miller

Abstract

Self-regulation is the capacity to exert control over cognition, emotion, behavior, and physiology. Since chronic pain interferes with the ability to self-regulate, the primary goal of this study was to examine, in rodents, the effects of chronic pain on self-regulation processes. Sixteen male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups: (1) chronic constriction injury of the infraorbital nerve (CCI-ION) and (2) naïve. Testing confirmed that CCI-ION animals had significant mechanical allodynia compared to naïve animals (p<0.001). A two-part self-regulation behavioral paradigm consisting of a cued go/no-go task and a subsequent persistence task was developed based on human paradigms. In the cued task, both groups made fewer incorrect lever presses in post-surgery trials (p<0.001); naive animals had a greater decrease in number of incorrect presses than CCI-ION animals (p=0.06). Similarly, both groups had a larger correct to total lever presses ratio in post-surgery trials (p<0.001); naïve animals had a greater increase than CCI-ION animals (p=0.06). In the persistence task, naïve animals experienced a greater decrease in lever presses (p=0.08) than did CCI-ION animals (p=0.66). These results suggest that animals experiencing chronic pain were not able to learn as well as naïve animals, and may have difficulty responding to novel environmental demands.

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