Effect of Humour on Pain Perception among Young Healthy Indian Adults Using Cold Pressor Task
Rhea OP, Savitha D, Anto T

Background Currently there is little research, especially in India, which has looked at the physiological effects of humour on pain perception. Objective To compare pain sensitivity across the three arms of intervention (control, neutral and funny videos). And to investigate the relationship between a) cardiovascular responses across and within each arm, b) pain sensitivity and resting blood pressure, pulse rate, c) humour trait with pain sensitivity. Method Subjects were exposed in random order to cold pressor task, during which they either watched a ‘neutral video’ or ‘funny video’ or did not watch any video. During the intervention, pain threshold and tolerance were recorded. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and pulse rate were measured before and after intervention. Pain unpleasantness was recorded post intervention. Result Neither humorous nor neutral videos had a significant effect on pain threshold, tolerance and unpleasantness and cardiovascular responses. There was significant difference between the pre and post values of cardiovascular measures within neutral and funny video arms. In the ‘no video’ arm, negative correlations were found between resting blood pressure and pain unpleasantness, and between delta diastolic blood pressure and pain threshold. Humour trait and subject’s self-rating of pain tolerance had no effect on both pain sensitivity and cardiovascular responses to cold pain. Conclusion Humorous distraction had no effect on objective or subjective pain measures or cardiovascular responses to cold pain exposure. There was a significant difference in the pre-post values of cardiovascular measures within neutral and funny video arms.
Keyword : Cardiovascular responses, Cold pressor task, Humour, Pain perception