W.hen the dentist digs deep again – just look at a photo of your beloved husband and the agony will be bearable. The trick should at least work if the abused patient is a woman, because only on these the Giessen university professor Christiane Hermann tested how the sight of familiar and unfamiliar faces affected the sensitivity to pain.
For the study, Hermann’s working group administered longer, painful heat stimuli to the forearms of 29 young women who, according to their own statements, had been in a happy relationship for at least six months and at the same time showed them photos: pictures of their partner with a neutral facial expression, photos of strangers who were sometimes happy , sometimes looked neutral and sometimes angry, as well as pictures of household items. The participants stated how badly they felt the pain; the tension in her facial muscles was also measured.
Pain perception and facial distortion were significantly weaker when looking at photos of friendly strangers, and muscle activity was even lower when a partner photo was presented. Psychologist Hermann therefore suggests taking such pictures with you to painful examinations or treatments if your partner cannot be there himself.