Nees F. DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft NE 1383/6-1: Annäherung und Vermeidung bei chronischem Schmerzsyndrom der Skelettmuskulatur: Die Rolle des Transfers von Pavlovschem zu instrumentellem Verhalten. 01/2015-12/2017.
Aims of this research are (a) the determination of pain-related approach and avoidance behavior and their neural correlates in chronic musculoskeletal pain, and (b) more specifically the interaction of pavlovian and instrumental conditioning processes in the development and maintenance of chronic musculoskeletal pain, involving (classical) reward and pain relief processing and the analysis of prediction error signaling. Hypotheses: We expect patients with chronic back pain to be characterized by reduced appetitive approach and enhanced avoidance as well as by reduced pavlovian and instrumental reward- and pain-relief-related conditioning and reduced approach-related PIT effect. These should be represented by decreased muscle tension levels and increased skin conductance responses, increased response times and frequency and, for the central measures, enhanced activation in the amygdala, insula and orbitofrontal cortex, but reduced activation in the striatal and prefrontal activation and deficient amygdala-prefrontal, amygdala-PAG and amygdala-striatal connectivity. Additionally, learning-related aversive prediction error signaling in reward (pain relief) related brain regions is expected to be reduced in chronic back pain, reflected by a decreased activation of the striatum, especially the nucleus accumbens, in pain patients compared to healthy subjects.