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Pain Research and Management
Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages 215-219
Tribute to Ronald Melzack

Beyond Reflexive Measures to Examine Higher Order Pain Processing in Rats

Perry N Fuchs

Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas 76019, USA

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


In 1968, Melzack and Casey published a pivotal paper in which they described a model of the sensory, motivational and cognitive determinants of pain. Much of Ronald Melzack's career has been dedicated to exploring this complex relationship. Of primary importance is the influence that Ron has had on the development of some of the current research interests of the present author. For instance, Ron's theoretical approach provided the underpinnings for the development of an additional behavioural testing technique in rat models of nociception that has been recently developed in the author's laboratory. The test is based on the assumption that escape and avoidance of a stimulus are clear indications that the stimulus is aversive. It is proposed that behavioural test paradigms based on this approach provide additional information beyond the traditional measures of stimulus-evoked reflexive responses. With these tests, the underlying assumption that different aspects of pain are processed by different neural substrates can be tested.