Dental Pain Management Theory

Abstract from a paper just submitted:

Going to the dentist is a culturally mandated yet deeply unpleasant experience. Dental Pain Management Theory (DPMT) postulates that the pain associated with dental procedures induces a state of cognitive dissonance (conflict between cultural norms and an individual desire to avoid pain), which in turn creates anxiety. The Dental Salience (DS) hypothesis states that people try to buffer the potential for dental anxiety by rejecting cultural worldviews and diminishing their sense of self-importance. A meta-analysis compiled several hundred independent effect sizes from DS experiments that compared the effects of thinking about dental pain versus thinking about something that is nearly as unpleasant but inevitable regardless of either cultural mandates or individual action (i.e., death). On average DS yielded a medium effect size across a range of subject populations and settings. Moderators included self-esteem and whether the dentist had a socially nonconforming haircut. Results are discussed in relation to alternative explanations of DPMT.

(Inspiration here and then here.)

Take the DSM-5 disorder quiz!

Below are the names of some psychological disorders. For each one, choose one of the following:

A. This is under formal consideration to be included as a new disorder in the DSM-5.

B. Somebody out there has suggested that this should be a disorder, but it is not part of the current proposal.

C. I made it up.

Answers will be posted in the comments section.

1. Factitious dietary disorder – producing, feigning, or exaggerating dietary restrictions to gain attention or manipulate others

2. Skin picking disorder – recurrent skin picking resulting in skin lesions

3. Olfactory reference syndrome – preoccupation with the belief that one emits a foul or offensive body odor, which is not perceived by others

4. Solastalgia – psychological or existential stress caused by environmental changes like global warming

5. Hypereudaimonia – recurrent happiness and success that interferes with interpersonal functioning

6. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder – disabling irritability before and during menstruation

7. Internet addiction disorder – compulsive overuse of computers that interferes with daily life

8. Sudden wealth syndrome – anxiety or panic following the sudden acquisition of large amounts of wealth

9. Kleine Levin syndrome – recurrent episodes of sleeping 11+ hours a day accompanied by feelings of unreality or confusion

10. Quotation syndrome – following brain injury, speech becomes limited to the recitation of quotes from movies, books, TV, etc.

11. Infracaninophilia – compulsively supporting individuals or teams perceived as likely to lose competitions

12. Acquired situational narcissism – narcissism that results from being a celebrity