Pain accuracy: is there a link between accuracy in pain report and accuracy in interoception and taste tasks?

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Pain intensity, as intensities of other subjective experiences is challenging to measure. The subjective nature of pain assessment and the variability in how patients are understanding and using pain scales are negatively affecting patient-health care provider communication and reducing the essay sensitivity of pain related studies. Little is known about the ability of patients to accurately report pain, and its possible relations with the ability to accurately report other bodily sensations. The aim of this study was to explore the relationships between the ability to accurately report pain and the ability to accurately report other sensations. Participants and methods: Healthy volunteers enrolled from local universities underwent the FAST procedure, to assess pain reporting accuracy, a taste task, to assess tastes (sweet and salty solutions) intensity reporting accuracy, and the heartbeat perception task, an interoceptive task aimed to assess how accurate subjects are in monitoring and reporting their own heartbeat. In addition, all subjects completed the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Spearman’s correlations were used to assess relations between the accuracy tasks (FAST and taste) and interoception measures (heartbeat task and MAIA), as well associations with pain-related psychological questionnaires (PSS and HADS). Results: Ability to accurately report the sensations of different modalities were independent of each other (P>0.05 for all outcome measures). Positive correlations were found within modality, between reporting accuracy of salt and sweet solutions (Spearman’s r=0.477, P<0.001). No correlations were found between the psychological and accuracy measures. Conclusion: Pain reporting accuracy is not related to interoceptive awareness of other modalities. Further research is ongoing to investigate the clinical relevance of pain reporting accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
  • Canaipa, Rita, Supervisor
  • Treister, Roi, Supervisor, External person
Award date6 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019


  • Pain assessment
  • Pain intensity
  • Interoceptive awareness
  • Subjective measures


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