Elemental
Published in

Elemental

The Nuance

The Fascinating Brain-Pain Connection

How expectation, emotion, and other neurocognitive factors affect our perception of pain

Illustration: Kieran Blakey for Elemental

Imagine that you’re about to have a tooth pulled. Your dentist tells you that, unfortunately, the tooth’s roots are infected, and so the procedure is going to hurt. A lot. It can’t be helped.

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