24 June 2020: Pain, expectation, and value-based learning

Lauren Atlas
Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Pain is a fundamental experience that promotes survival. In humans, pain stands at the intersection of multiple health crises: chronic pain, the opioid epidemic, and health disparities. Addressing pain requires multidisciplinary approaches, integrating insights from basic neuroscience to psychology and psychiatry. In this talk, I will focus on the relationship between pain, affect, and learning. I will present new work addressing how instructions and learning shape pain, the role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in expectancy effects on pain, and comparing pain with appetitive and aversive taste to address processes that may be unique to pain versus those that may be involved in value-based learning more generally.