Scientific article
Open access

Placebo Analgesia Affects Brain Correlates of Error Processing

Published inPloS one, vol. 7, no. 11, e49784
Publication date2012

Placebo analgesia (PA) is accompanied by decreased activity in pain-related brain regions, but also by greater prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation, which has been suggested to reflect increases in top-down cognitive control and regulation of pain. Here we test whether PA is associated with altered prefrontal monitoring functions that could adjust nociceptive processing to a mismatch between expected and experienced pain. We recorded event-related potentials to response errors in a go/nogo task during placebo vs. a matched control condition. Error commission was associated with two well-described components, the error-related negativity (ERN) and the error positivity (Pe). Results show that the Pe, but not the ERN, was amplified during placebo analgesia compared to the control condition, with neural sources in the lateral and medial PFC. This Pe increase was driven by participants showing a placebo-induced change in pain tolerance, but was absent in the group of non-responders. Our results shed new light on the possible functional mechanisms underlying PA, suggesting a placebo-induced transient change in prefrontal error monitoring and control functions.

  • Adult
  • Analgesia
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials/drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nociceptive Pain/drug therapy/physiopathology
  • Pain/drug therapy/physiopathology
  • Pain Management
  • Placebos/administration & dosage
  • Prefrontal Cortex/drug effects
  • Reaction Time
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
KOBAN, Léonie et al. Placebo Analgesia Affects Brain Correlates of Error Processing. In: PloS one, 2012, vol. 7, n° 11, p. e49784. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049784
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1932-6203

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