Psych M.D. -gate-control theory


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Term: gate-control theory
Definition (Myers): the theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the pain.
Definition (alternative): the idea that physical pain is not a direct result of activation of pain receptor neurons, but rather its perception is modulated by interaction between different neurons. (nationalmaster.com)
Contextual explanation: Theory by psychologist Ronald Melzack and biologist Patrick Walls, gate-control theory of pain states that spinal cord contains neurological "gate" that either blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to pain. The spinal cord (shown in picture below) contains small nerve fibers that conduct most pain signals, and larger fibers that conduct most other sensory signals. Small fibers activate and open the neural gate when tissue is injured causing pain. These gate can be closed by information from the brain. In another words by focusing your attention on things other than pain, or distracting pain by releasing endorphins, experience of pain is reduced. For example, during 1996, Kerri Strug had sprained her left ankle so severely that she was unable to do gymnastics for months forward. Yet she was able to endure serious injuries while focusing her attention outside her body- carrying her to gold medals.

Related terms and concepts: brain, spinal cord, neural signals
gate-control theory[*1]
spinal cord[*2]
Related websites:
Edited by: Il-jee



More pages