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Perception of Painful Memories May be Influenced by Positive Experiences

A recent study from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, reported by The New York Times, has evaluated the perception and memory of pain in order to determine why individuals might repeat an action or activity that caused them excruciating pain like childbirth or running a marathon. Researchers proposed that our memories of pain are influenced by meaning and context so that experiences with a positive connotation led to diminished pain memories. In the study of 62 runners from the Cracovia Marathon, the researchers asked them to rate their pain and overall emotional state immediately after the race and several months later. They found that runners who reported lower happiness initially, more accurately remember their levels of pain three to six months later. These findings suggest an interesting link between pain and memory but warrant further study given the other uncontrolled variables like age, experience, or general personality.

 

Read the article on The New York Times.

Read the study published in the journal, Memory