Pain is a complex cognitive and emotional experience, which means that understanding the structure of our pain experience is far from easy. Our beliefs and expectations about pain alter perceptual, emotional and behavioural responses and, as such, can play a critical role in adapting to long term pain conditions. The symposium will consider pain’s meaning, how this shapes the experience of the individual in pain and how this, in turn, shapes their interactions with the environment. We will take an inter-disciplinary approach to these questions, drawing from Philosophy, Anthropology, Psychology and Neuroscience.

We will also attempt to translate these perspectives into the clinical domain, The second day will be organised as an interactive discussion led by Dr. Salomons, Dr. Ravindran, and Dr. Thacker, examining how our understanding of pain-related beliefs and expectations might be integrated into clinical practice.


The symposium is designed to bring together people interested in the philosophical, neuroscientific, and clinical examination of the elements which structure pain experiences, asking how propositional and affective states (e.g. beliefs and feelings) alter the pain experience and how such knowledge should properly inform clinical practice.


Professor Murat Aydede
Professor of Philosophy
University of British Columbia

Dr David Bain
Reader in Philosophy
University of Glasgow

Professor Emma Borg
Professor of Philosophy
Director of Reading Centre for Cognition Research
University of Reading

Dr Deepak Ravindran
Lead Consultant, Pain and Musculoskeletal Medicine    
Pain Management Unit
Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading

Dr Tim Salomons
Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience    
Director CINN Pain Laboratory
University of Reading

Dr Mick Thacker
Associate Professor of Allied Health Sciences
London South Bank University

Dr Katja Wiech
Associate Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of Oxford

Dr Amanda Williams
Reader in Health Psychology
University College London