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Effet du comportement empathique des expérimentateurs sur la perception douloureuse : Approche des mécanismes neuronaux avec l’imagerie fonctionnelle cérébrale (IRMf)

Abstract : Other’s empathetic behavior can have a positive effect on pain perception. In medical setting it is a known strategy from caregivers to support and interact with their patients. Conversely, unempathy, having a negative attitude towards the suffering person is outlawed out of fear of induce deleterious effects. How do empathy and unempathy from others influence pain perception? Investigating this issue is the aim of this thesis. First, we built and approved an experiment delivering different types of empathetic feedbacks to subjects who received nociceptive stimulations. The empathetic comments significantly alleviated subjects’ pain ratings (-12 %). The unempathetic comments did not influence the subjects’ pain ratings in comparison with neutral situation. However, they influenced autonomic response related to pain. Neuro-imaging studies shown that the pain intensity modulation related to empathetic feedbacks involved interactions between the core structures of the default network (vmPFC and PCC/Prec), the DLPFC and the posterior insula. Functional activations revealed that only the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus activity was able to integrate the empathetic feedbacks’ content. Changing its functional connectivity, this structure would engage control mechanisms (vmPFC) able to interact with the posterior and anterior insula to reduce pain perception. The study of such modulation system at the level of the pain functional network provided consistent results.
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Camille Fauchon. Effet du comportement empathique des expérimentateurs sur la perception douloureuse : Approche des mécanismes neuronaux avec l’imagerie fonctionnelle cérébrale (IRMf). Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université de Lyon, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSES058⟩. ⟨tel-02101161⟩

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