Although it is now well accepted that attention-based cognitive coping strategies are effective in altering pain perception and have potentially useful analgesic qualities, there exists contradiction and equivocation as to the role of various factors in the production of that analgesia. Cioffi (1991) has suggested that the response to this equivocation has been a 'collective ennui' on the part of researchers. This article seeks to explore methodological and theoretical reasons for this reigning equivocation and offers some suggestions for moving beyond it. In particular, critical attention is focussed upon four possible sources of variance in experimental pain procedures: the choice of the pain induction procedure, the instructions given, the measures taken and the content of the taught strategy.
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