American in Spain

How culpability affects pain perception

April 10, 2014
How culpability effects pain perception

One curiosity I've noticed as I watch my children grow into their bodies is how they react to pain. There are days where it seems like the childhood is one long series of injuries. No doubt every parent has seen this, but when a kid is pushed to the ground on the playground by another kid, the chances of the victim running to his Mommy for consolation is much higher than if the kid was doing something stupid or dangerous and fell. If you're a kid, and you hurt yourself by doing something stupid or risky the resulting pain appears to be minimized. Adults, on the other hand, have trained themselves to go through a causal analysis every time something bad happens. This is what leads us into knee-jerk policy changes like taking away freedoms in an attempt to provide more security. I've found that whenever I get hurt and my causal analysis leads me back to a stupid or careless decision on my part (e.g. sunburn), I find that it hurts even more. Perhaps it's more shame or annoyance than actual pain being felt, but it amuses me that my reaction is the exact opposite of how children react to their injuries.

How culpability effects pain perception

This not at all scientific, but I figured it warranted a line graph. Do your observations of yourself and the rest of humanity agree with my hypothesis?