ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

Perry N Fuchs

Second Advisor

Yuan Bo Peng


Recent clinical assessments using the Iowa Gambling Task have revealed pain can negatively affect decision-making processes, leading to risky or poor decisions. Despite the gain these models have made in further elucidating the cognitive components of pain, they fail to fully address neurobiological factors of decision-making on behavior. As a result, there remains significant limitation in assessing the extent of how acute or chronic pain and the relief of pain with analgesics can affect cognitive abilities. Therefore, we examined the effect of acute and chronic pain on decision processing and the impact of morphine on that decision processing. In this study, forty-four Sprague Dawley rats were presented with a rodent version of the Iowa Gambling Task (RGT). On Day One testing, animals were injected with Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA) (or saline) to induce an inflammatory pain condition in the left hindpaw. Thirty minutes after, animals were given an injection of either 3 mg/kg morphine or saline and allowed to habituate for thirty minutes. Animals were tested using the RGT where percent choice and omission percentage were used to assess the animals’ cognitive performance for acute pain. Thus, the conditions were as followed: saline/saline, saline/morphine, CFA/saline, CFA/morphine. After testing, animals were subjected to a Place Escape/Avoidance Paradigm (PEAP) testing. On the tenth day, animals were given the same drug injection as Day One testing and allowed to habituate for 30 minutes. Afterward, animals were subjected to a Day Ten testing using the RGT. Again, the animals were assessed, but for chronic pain cognitive performance, using percent choice and omission percentage of the RGT and again were subjected to another PEAP testing. Surprisingly, RGT data revealed no differences in best choice option ability regardless of pain, drug, or time conditions. However, results of PEAP testing did reveal a significant difference in pain affect for pain conditions, but not across time, suggesting pain affect does not change within acute to chronic conditions. Thus, the results of this study suggest that specific patterns of decreased cognitive performance were not seen for subcutaneous inflammatory conditions, but did maintain responding in a measure of pain affect. Future studies should seek to further assess the relationship between pain and cognition in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of pain behaviors, specifically pertaining to the underlying biological mechanisms that that influence cognitive pain-behaviors. Approaches such as this can provide critical information that can ultimately translate to clinical populations and lead to improvements in understanding pain and its cognitive component.


Pain, Decision making, Inflammation


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons