Walden University Pain Perception and Treatment Discussion Paper

Walden University

Question Description

I’m trying to learn for my Psychology class and I’m stuck. Can you help?

Discussion: Pain Perception and Treatment

Considering the complexity of the world, it is tempting to think that the human senses are designed to take in information with as much accuracy as possible. However, the literature points to the fact that sometimes sensory systems actively distort information. For example, touch receptors stop signaling about the way clothes press against skin, or the visual system ignores blind spots in vision. In some cases, the distortion of information is beneficial and allows humans to ignore unimportant details. Sometimes the distorted reports of sensory systems can be detrimental, as when an amputee suffers constant pain from a limb that is no longer there. To understand the mind, you have to understand how sensory systems report on the world. Important to this understanding is the distinction between sensation and perception.

In this Discussion, you will differentiate between sensation and perception. You will describe how pain is detected and transmitted to the nervous system and the pros and cons of pain perception. You will also describe the processes involved in pain management through both pharmaceutical and alternative pain treatments.

To prepare:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources in order to be able to differentiate between the terms sensation and perception as well as to be able to describe the processes involved in detecting and transmitting pain.
  • Choose a specific pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical pain treatment and research the processes through which those treatments manage pain.
  • Define, describe, and clearly differentiate between the terms sensation and perception.
  • Then, considering the sensation and perception of pain:
    • Describe how pain is detected and the neurotransmitters and receptors involved in transmitting that information to the central nervous system.
    • Choose a specific pharmaceutical pain medication and explain how it interferes with this pathway to reduce and manage pain. Consider the downsides of treating pain via pharmacological methods, such as opioids.
    • Choose an alternative pain treatment (non-pharmaceutical) and explain how it works to manage pain. What are some potential pros and cons to this approach?
    • Finally, propose at least one potential cost and one potential benefit of pain perception.


Breedlove, S. M., & Watson, N. V. (2019). Behavioral neuroscience (9th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

  • Chapter 8, “General Principles of Sensory Processing, Touch, and Pain”

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