Mark Paterson introduces his Body & Society article ‘On Pain as a Distinct Sensation: Mapping Intensities, Affects, and Difference in ‘Interior States’’
A recent widely reported study found that some participants would prefer to self-administer a small electric shock than be bored. This flawed study serves as a departure point to diagram pain and sensation beyond the boundaries of the individual body, consisting of four sections. First, in terms of laboratory-based experimentation and auto-experimentation with pain, there is a long history of viewing pain and touch through introspective means. Second, later theories of pain successively widened the scope of the physiological mechanisms and external influences on the organism, such as Melzack and Wall’s cybernetics-influenced gate control theory. Third, we briefly consider the nervous system as a homeostatic system, which finds an historical parallel in explanations of the milieu intérieur of the organism, via Claude Bernard and Kurt Goldstein. Fourth, pain helps tip the organism as a whole from perception to action, but also operates beyond the organism as a biopsychosocial phenomenon.