Social modulation of and by pain in humans and rodents

Pain. 2015 Apr;156 Suppl 1:S35-S41. doi: 10.1097/01.j.pain.0000460341.62094.77.


The social domain of the biopsychosocial model of pain has been greatly understudied compared with the biological and psychological domains but holds great promise for furthering our understanding, and better treatment, of pain. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in social neuroscience and have revealed the ability of pain stimuli to alter social interactions. These experiments suggest that rodents are capable of producing simplified versions of any number of social phenomena involving empathy, previously thought to be the sole province of human beings. This review describes the state of science in both humans and nonhuman animals, and notes intriguing parallels in observations from both species. Indeed, my laboratory is starting to demonstrate perfectly translatable findings regarding social modulation of pain in rodents and humans.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Rodentia
  • Social Behavior*
  • Translational Medical Research*