student profile: Ms Jemma Todd


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Exploring the role of attention and interpretation biases in understanding and treating pain

Supervisors: Ben COLAGIURI , Louise SHARPE

Thesis abstract:

The processes that lead to the development and maintenance of chronic pain are still not well understood, however theories and growing empirical research indicate that cognitive processes such as attentional bias and interpretation bias are likely to be important in the experience of pain. The aim of this thesis was therefore to investigate the specific role of cognitive processing biases in the experience of pain, across five studies that address the research aims from multiple perspectives. The first study (Chapter 2) presents a meta-analysis of dot-probe attentional bias studies, which was conducted to determine where attentional biases occur and how they are best measured. Overall, biases towards sensory pain words were found for chronic pain patients in comparison to healthy individuals, and certain task parameters were identified as important for the detection of effects. The second study (Chapter 3) presents a systematic review investigating the clinical relevance of attentional bias to pain through available prospective and intervention research. Attentional biases were found to be relevant, and when successfully modified, changes in pain outcomes tended to occur. This review formed the foundation for a new theory, the threat interpretation model, which proposes a specific pattern of attentional bias dependent on threat interpretation. This model was then tested experimentally across three studies, the first two of which explored the effect of threat on interpretation bias, attentional bias and pain outcomes using different attentional bias paradigms; namely the visual cueing task (Chapter 4) and the dot probe task (Chapter 5), accompanied by eye-tracking. A third experimental study tested the effects of an attentional bias modification (ABM) procedure on attentional bias, interpretation bias, and pain outcomes using a randomised controlled trial design (Chapter 6). Together, these results suggest that avoidance of affective pain words predicts pain outcomes and can be modified, however the mechanisms of change were not established. The present research indicates that attentional biases are important in the experience of chronic pain; sensory pain biases most reliably detected although avoidance of affective pain information may be a more clinically relevant indicator of pain development and maintenance. The present research has a number of clinical and theoretical implications that will be beneficial in progress of this field of research, with the hope that novel interventions targeting both attentional and interpretation biases can be developed to improve the experience of pain.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Todd, J., van Lettow, B. (2016). A closer look at prototypes: similarity, favourability, and the prototype willingness model. A response to the commentary of Gibbons and Gerrard. Health Psychology Review, 10(1), 47-49. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Sharpe, L., Colagiuri, B. (2016). Attentional bias modification and pain: The role of sensory and affective stimuli. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 83, 53-61. [More Information]
  • Andrew, B., Mullan, B., de Wit, J., Monds, L., Todd, J., Kothe, E. (2016). Does the Theory of Planned Behaviour Explain Condom Use Behaviour Among Men Who have Sex with Men? A Meta-analytic Review of the Literature. AIDS and Behavior, 20(12), 2834-2844. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Kothe, E., Mullan, B., Monds, L. (2016). Reasoned versus reactive prediction of behaviour: a meta-analysis of the prototype willingness model. Health Psychology Review, 10(1), 1-24. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Sharpe, L., Colagiuri, B., Khatibi, A. (2016). The effect of threat on cognitive biases and pain outcomes: An eye-tracking study. European Journal of Pain, 20(8), 1357-1368. [More Information]
  • MacCann, C., Todd, J., Mullan, B., Roberts, R. (2015). Can personality bridge the intention-behavior gap to predict who will exercise? American Journal of Health Behavior, 39(1), 140-147. [More Information]
  • Mullan, B., Wong, C., Todd, J., Davis, E., Kothe, E. (2015). Food hygiene knowledge in adolescents and young adults. British Food Journal, 117(1), 50-61. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Sharpe, L., Johnson, A., Nicholson-Perry, K., Colagiuri, B., Dear, B. (2015). Towards a new model of attentional biases in the development, maintenance and management of pain. Pain, 156(9), 1589-1600. [More Information]
  • Robertson, A., Mullan, B., Todd, J. (2014). A qualitative exploration of experiences of overweight young and older adults. An application of the integrated behaviour model. Appetite, 75, 157-164. [More Information]
  • Mullan, B., Todd, J., Chatzisarantis, N., Hagger, M. (2014). Experimental methods in health psychology in Australia: Implications for applied research. Australian Psychologist, 49(2), 104-109. [More Information]
  • Mullan, B., Allom, V., Brogan, A., Kothe, E., Todd, J. (2014). Self-regulation and the intention behaviour gap. Exploring dietary behaviours in university students. Appetite, 73, 7-14. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Mullan, B. (2014). The role of self-monitoring and response inhibition in improving sleep behaviours. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21(3), 470-477. [More Information]
  • MacPhail, M., Mullan, B., Sharpe, L., MacCann, C., Todd, J. (2014). Using the health action process approach to predict and improve health outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 7, 469-479. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Mullan, B. (2013). The role of self-regulation in predicting sleep hygiene in university students. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 18(3), 275-288. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Mullan, B. (2011). Using the theory of planned behaviour and prototype willingness model to target binge drinking in female undergraduate university students. Addictive Behaviors, 36(10), 980-986. [More Information]

2016

  • Todd, J., van Lettow, B. (2016). A closer look at prototypes: similarity, favourability, and the prototype willingness model. A response to the commentary of Gibbons and Gerrard. Health Psychology Review, 10(1), 47-49. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Sharpe, L., Colagiuri, B. (2016). Attentional bias modification and pain: The role of sensory and affective stimuli. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 83, 53-61. [More Information]
  • Andrew, B., Mullan, B., de Wit, J., Monds, L., Todd, J., Kothe, E. (2016). Does the Theory of Planned Behaviour Explain Condom Use Behaviour Among Men Who have Sex with Men? A Meta-analytic Review of the Literature. AIDS and Behavior, 20(12), 2834-2844. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Kothe, E., Mullan, B., Monds, L. (2016). Reasoned versus reactive prediction of behaviour: a meta-analysis of the prototype willingness model. Health Psychology Review, 10(1), 1-24. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Sharpe, L., Colagiuri, B., Khatibi, A. (2016). The effect of threat on cognitive biases and pain outcomes: An eye-tracking study. European Journal of Pain, 20(8), 1357-1368. [More Information]

2015

  • MacCann, C., Todd, J., Mullan, B., Roberts, R. (2015). Can personality bridge the intention-behavior gap to predict who will exercise? American Journal of Health Behavior, 39(1), 140-147. [More Information]
  • Mullan, B., Wong, C., Todd, J., Davis, E., Kothe, E. (2015). Food hygiene knowledge in adolescents and young adults. British Food Journal, 117(1), 50-61. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Sharpe, L., Johnson, A., Nicholson-Perry, K., Colagiuri, B., Dear, B. (2015). Towards a new model of attentional biases in the development, maintenance and management of pain. Pain, 156(9), 1589-1600. [More Information]

2014

  • Robertson, A., Mullan, B., Todd, J. (2014). A qualitative exploration of experiences of overweight young and older adults. An application of the integrated behaviour model. Appetite, 75, 157-164. [More Information]
  • Mullan, B., Todd, J., Chatzisarantis, N., Hagger, M. (2014). Experimental methods in health psychology in Australia: Implications for applied research. Australian Psychologist, 49(2), 104-109. [More Information]
  • Mullan, B., Allom, V., Brogan, A., Kothe, E., Todd, J. (2014). Self-regulation and the intention behaviour gap. Exploring dietary behaviours in university students. Appetite, 73, 7-14. [More Information]
  • Todd, J., Mullan, B. (2014). The role of self-monitoring and response inhibition in improving sleep behaviours. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21(3), 470-477. [More Information]
  • MacPhail, M., Mullan, B., Sharpe, L., MacCann, C., Todd, J. (2014). Using the health action process approach to predict and improve health outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 7, 469-479. [More Information]

2013

  • Todd, J., Mullan, B. (2013). The role of self-regulation in predicting sleep hygiene in university students. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 18(3), 275-288. [More Information]

2011

  • Todd, J., Mullan, B. (2011). Using the theory of planned behaviour and prototype willingness model to target binge drinking in female undergraduate university students. Addictive Behaviors, 36(10), 980-986. [More Information]

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.