Pain – Melzack & Wall
(1965) Gate Control Theory
Malzeck & Wall’s Theory of
Pain (1965)
What opens the gate?
•Physical Factors
Bodily injury
•Emotional Factors
Anxiety & Depression
•Behavioural Factors
Attending to the injury
& concentrating on
the pain
Malzeck & Wall’s Theory of
Pain (1965)
What Closes the Gate?
• Physical Pain
Analgesic Remedies
• Emotional Pain
Being in a ‘good’
mood
• Behavioural Factors
Concentrating on
things other than the
injury
Malzeck & Wall’s Theory
of Pain (1965)
What else closes
the gate?
Friction – when you
rub a part of your
body it causes
friction, friction
signals compete with
pain signals to pass
through the gate, if
both signals are
trying to get through,
the friction signal will
make it first.
Past Experience of Pain
Beecher (1946 & 1956) looked at requests for
pain relief amongst soldiers and compared
these to the request made by civilians with the
same injuries. Most of the soldiers claimed not
to perceive any pain and only a quarter of
them requested pain relief.
80% of civilians asked for analgesic support.
Beecher argued that the context in which the
pain was experienced had an impact on the
way in which it was perceived.
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Pain – Melzack & Wall (1965) Gate Control Theory