Does Distraction Affect Pain Tolerance?
Jasmine Tsai, Adelaide Zhang
Killarney Secondary
Floor Location : J 157 H

We tested to if distraction would affect pain tolerance. Our idea stemmed off of the myth that women can handle pain better than men. It stood out because it is fascinating to think that having different sex changes how our brains reacts to pain. That caused the thought that possibly another variable other than gender could affect someone’s endurance. It would be interesting to see if simply distracting our brain with another activity would cause it to focus on something else, “converting” the pain away. The control group places their non-dominant hand in a bucket of ice water while we record how long they can keep their hand in the water. The experimental group repeats the procedure but while solving math worksheets. Our results showed that the distraction raised their levels of pain tolerance. During this experiment, people who are more exposed to cold environments such as ice hockey players, skaters, and swimmers, could handle the ice water for a longer period of time. This information could assist the medical field on how to treat patients and accommodate to how much pain they may be experiencing to a patient's level of pain tolerance or use more distraction such as television shows in hospitals for patients who have conditions that causes them to more likely experience pain. In conclusion, the experimental group had a higher pain tolerance than the control group because the experimental group focused on completing the math worksheets, whereas the control group directed their attention towards their hand. Therefore, distraction alters the experience of pain. With the data we had, we also conducted a secondary analysis to see if whether males or females could handle pain better. The results showed that male participants in control group handled the ice water longer than the female participants.The male participants in control group handled the ice water longer than the female participants.