I would like to thank Peggy Smith for her able assistance as experimenter for this study and Russ Glasgow and Bob Klepac for providing comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. Requests for reprints should be sent to Kevin D. McCaul, Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58105.
Sensory information, fear level, and reactions to pain1
Article first published online: 13 JUL 2007
Journal of Personality
Volume 48, Issue 4, pages 494–504, December 1980
How to Cite
McCaul, K. D. (1980), Sensory information, fear level, and reactions to pain. Journal of Personality, 48: 494–504. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1980.tb02381.x
- Issue published online: 13 JUL 2007
- Article first published online: 13 JUL 2007
- Manuscript received October 17, 1979; revised March 19, 1980.
An experiment was conducted to investigate the conditions under which sensory information has beneficial versus detrimental value as preparatory information to assist individuals in coping with stress. Fourteen high fear and twelve low fear college women underwent exposure to the cold pressor test. Half of each fear group was provided with sensory information about the sensations produced by the cold pressor and half received a control message. Distress judgments made during the cold pressor showed (a) that sensory information effectively reduced distress for low fear women, but (b) sensory information exacerbated the distress of high fear women—at least during early portions of the cold pressor test. The data generally support Leventhal's (1979) perceptual-motor theory of emotion and have pragmatic implications for those persons who provide preparatory information to individuals anticipating a stressful encounter.