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Sunday, April 16

The Meaning of Pain

In trying to understand more about this in regard to animals, children, infants, and fetuses, I did some brief searching on the meaning of pain.

Definition and descriptions of pain from the The International Association of Pain

"An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience
associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or
described in terms of such damage."

Definition and descriptions of animal pain from The Animal Welfare Research Group

"Pain in animals is an aversive sensory experience
that elicits protective motor actions, results in
learned avoidance and may modify species specific
traits of behaviour, including social behaviour"

"Animal pain is an aversive, sensory experience
representing awareness by the animal of damage or
threat to the integrity of its tissues; (note that
there might not be any damage). It changes the
animal's physiology and behaviour to reduce or avoid
the damage, to reduce the likelihood of its recurrence
and to promote recovery. Non-functional (non-useful)
pain occurs when the intensity or duration of the
experience is not appropriate for damage sustained
(especially if none exists) and when physiological and
behavioural responses are unsuccessful in alleviating
it (Molony, 1997)"

Another useful term that I came across is Nociception:

"Nociception is detection of a noxious stimulus,
whereas Pain is an 'experience', which is the
product of the parts of the brain responsible for
mental processing of the noxious stimulus. "Pain
occurs in the brain"."

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