Investigating attention toward pain‑related cues in an Arabic‑speaking population with and without chronic pain

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There is some evidence for attentional biases in individuals with chronic pain (CP). Cultural and linguistic differences might
affect the manifestation of these processes across populations. However, such attentional biases have not been explored
in the Arabic-speaking population. The current study investigated these attentional biases and possible associations with
resilience. Two matched groups of Arabic-speaking participants with (58) and without (58) CP were recruited from Jordan
and the United Kingdom. They completed emotionally modified versions of the Posner cueing and Stroop tasks, alongside
questionnaires. Significant group differences were found for the Posner task, with the CP group exhibiting disengagement
revealed by the inhibition of return (IOR) effect for sensory pain-related cues compared to delayed disengagement for the
other cue types. The control group showed IOR across cue types. No group differences were found on the Stroop task. The
CP group had lower resilience scores than healthy controls, and resilience moderated performance on the Posner task. The
study provides preliminary evidence about the attentional processes in the Arabic population; the speed of disengagement
is affected in the CP group with early disengagement for sensory pain-related information compared to affect pain and
neutral stimuli. Furthermore, resilience levels in the CP and control group moderated the performance on the Posner task,
suggesting that it influences attentional allocation. This study can help in understanding how the phenomenon of attention
bias intertwines with the cultural and linguistic factors. Future research should further explore attentional dynamics across
different time points in this population and the modulatory effect of resilience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental brain research
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2024


  • Attention
  • pain-related cues
  • Arabic
  • chronic pain


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