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Inferences of Others' Competence Reduces Anticipation of Pain When under Threat

Tedeschi, Ellen and Weber, Jochen and Prévost, Charlotte and Mischel, Walter and Mobbs, Dean (2015) Inferences of Others' Competence Reduces Anticipation of Pain When under Threat. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27 (10). pp. 2071-2078. ISSN 0898-929X. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00843.

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On a daily basis, we place our lives in the hands of strangers. From dentists to pilots, we make inferences about their competence to perform their jobs and consequently to keep us from harm. Here we explore whether the perceived competence of others can alter one's anticipation of pain. In two studies, participants (Receivers) believed their chances of experiencing an aversive stimulus were directly dependent on the performance of another person (Players). We predicted that perceiving the Players as highly competent would reduce Receivers' anxiety when anticipating the possibility of an electric shock. Results confirmed that high competence ratings consistently corresponded with lower reported anxiety, and complementary fMRI data showed that increased competence perception was further expressed as decreased activity in the bilateral posterior insula, a region localized to actual pain stimulation. These studies suggest that inferences of competence act as predictors of protection and reduce the expectation of negative outcomes.

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Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Additional Information:© 2015 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Posted Online August 31, 2015.
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180306-082140542
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Official Citation:Inferences of Others' Competence Reduces Anticipation of Pain When under Threat. Ellen Tedeschi, Jochen Weber, Charlotte Prévost, Walter Mischel, and Dean Mobbs. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2015 27:10, 2071-2078
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:85124
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Mar 2018 18:22
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:25

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