This paper summarizes a behavioral paradigm that was developed as a novel method to dissociate the multidimensional pain experience in rodents. The place escape/avoidance paradigm (PEAP) is based on the assumption that if animals escape and/or avoid a noxious stimulus, then the stimulus is aversive to the animal. Data is presented showing that when animals are placed in a specific environmental condition, they will perform purposeful behavior to escape and/or avoid the noxious stimulus. Additional data is presented to demonstrate the validity of the behavioral paradigm and how the paradigm has been used to test the hypothesis that the affective/motivational dimension of pain can be dissociated and studied independent of sensory pain processing. The behavioral paradigm highlights the emerging trend in the area of pain research and management towards developing more realistic behavioral paradigms to assess nociceptive processing in rodent models of chronic pain.