From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In scientific and medical literature the term pain threshold indicates the minimum stimulus which elicits pain (as reported by the subject) and is clearly differentiated from the term pain tolerance which indicates the degree of pain which a subject can tolerate before experiencing physical or emotional impairment and involves a measurement of a subject's response to pain. Compare this to absolute threshold, which is the lowest level of stimulus that is physiologically detectable.
Society and culture
The nature or meaning of physical pain has been diversely understood by religious or secular traditions from antiquity to modern times.
Physical pain is an important political topic in relation to various issues, including pain management policy, drug control, animal rights or animal welfare, torture, and pain compliance. In various contexts, the deliberate infliction of pain in the form of corporal punishment is used as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable. In some cultures, extreme practices such as mortification of the flesh or painful rites of passage are highly regarded.
In all societies, males were and still are expected not to react to pain nor fear it, as it is traditional gender roles that females respond to pain and express fear of it. This is were the culture of condemning men who fear or react to even severe pain as cowards or accusing them of being effeminate. This was a big aspect of caning in British schools as the boys were trained to be desensitized of pain
More generally, it is often as a part of pain in the broad sense, i.e. suffering, that physical pain is dealt with in culture, religion, philosophy, or society.
- Phantom pain
- Pain (philosophy)
- Regarding the Pain of Others (2003) by Susan Sontag