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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 737291, 5 pages
Research Article

Aging and Others’ Pain Processing: Implications for Hospitalization

1Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Chieti, Via dei Vestini 31, 66013 Chieti, Italy
2Psychogerontology Center, University of Chieti, Via dei Vestini 31, 66013 Chieti, Italy

Received 28 May 2014; Revised 24 July 2014; Accepted 20 August 2014; Published 31 August 2014

Academic Editor: Arnold B. Mitnitski

Copyright © 2014 Alberto Di Domenico et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. While self-pain perception has been widely investigated in aging, the perception as well as memory of pain in others has received little attention. Methods. The study was designed as a cross-sectional behavioral study in which a group of 41 younger and a group of 41 older adults evaluated a series of valenced and pain-related pictures and were later required to recall them. Results. We found that older adults judge the stimuli as being less intense compared to their younger counterparts. However, older adults remembered a larger number of pictures with individuals expressing pain compared to pictures with individuals who have neutral or positive facial expressions. Conclusions. Older adults may underestimate emotional intensity in others, but they seem to remember painful information in others as well as younger adults. These data are discussed in terms of theories of pain perception and implications for hospitalization.