People generalize expectations of pain to conceptually related tasks

Chronic pain can seriously restrict our lives, preventing us from reaching our full professional potential, enjoying hobbies, and even participating in meaningful life events with friends and family out of fear that certain activities may lead to additional pain and suffering. Avoiding experiences associated with pain can be an adaptive behavior. But, as Eveliina Glogan, Peixin Liu, and Ann Meulders (Maastricht University) demonstrate in a recent Psychological Science article, when we learn to avoid one activity that has caused pain in the past, it can also lead us to avoid conceptually related activities that we may be able to complete painlessly.

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