Pain and Suffering: from philosophical concepts to psychobiological mechanisms (PASCOM)
The aim of the PASCOM project, jointly financed by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR) and the German Research Foundation (DFG), is to use an innovative phenomenological conceptual approach combining psychological, neuroscientific and philosophical stances to better understand pain and suffering.
This effort is pursued as a collaborative research between the Pain Research Laboratory at the University of Luxembourg, directed by Prof. Fernand Anton, and the Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at the Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University Mannheim, Germany, directed by Prof. Dr. Herta Flor.
The two groups consider that diverse interpretations in separated domains often limit our understanding and reduce our proficiency for alleviating pain. In this framework, the PASCOM project seeks to provide a novel transdisciplinary framework for research, with a strong scientific basis, which will give scientists and persons working in the humanities alike access to knowledge on pain and suffering from an integrative perspective.
The philosophical approach, developed by Dr. Smadar Bustan, proposes to employ a diagrammatical reasoning, intersecting the sufferer’s inner world with his social world. In breaking down this global and theoretical methodology into smaller, experimentally testable versions by Dr. Sandra Kamping, we wish to examine to what extend the experiences of pain and suffering are centered in the private experience or in a person’s social and cultural interaction with the others.
Experimentally targeting the cases when the two worlds converge or diverge, the two groups, along with the PhD students Martin Löffler, Michael Brunner, will be able to constrain the different crossing points and better define the relation between Pain and Suffering by identifying pain stimulations methods and parameters that are appropriate for the induction of variable levels of pain on one hand and suffering on the other hand. Our continuous exchange will allow us to conduct additional 2 sets of studies in order to measure, quantitatively as well as qualitatively, to what extent the exchanges between the inner world of pain and the social realm connect them together or instead reinforce their divide