Dataset for "Headache impairs attentional performance: an extension and replication"

Pain has advantages for our immediate safety, but it also disrupts our ability to perform other tasks that require attention. Multiple previous studies have documented detrimental effects of pain on attention, but the specific nature of the effects is inconsistent. This may be because different studies investigate different types of pain, such as laboratory-induced thermal pain, menstrual pain, or headache. Here, we replicated a study investigating the effect of headache on attention, and extended it by including two additional attention tasks, a broader sample, and measures of affect and pain cognitions. We aimed to see whether the effects of the same type of pain on the same attention tasks would be consistent across studies.

Participants performed five complex attention tasks and a choice reaction time task with and without a naturally occurring headache.

Participants were slower to respond to five of the six attention tasks, and this could be attributed to a slowing in basic processing speed as measured by the choice reaction time task. Participants were also less accurate on a cued switching task.

The pattern of disruption found here, mainly a dampening of processing speed, is again different to previous findings. This suggests that the effect of pain on attention appears to be dynamic, even within a given type of pain. While we can be confident that pain does disrupt attention, we cannot yet predict the specific nature of disruption in any given case.


Cite this dataset as:
Attridge, N., Noonan, D., Wainwright, E., Eccleston, C., Keogh, E., 2015. Dataset for "Headache impairs attentional performance: an extension and replication". Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive. Available from:


[QR code for this page]


Nina Attridge
University of Bath

Donna Noonan
University of Bath

Edmund Keogh
University of Bath


University of Bath
Rights Holder


Data collection method:

The study followed a repeated measures design across two sessions, in one session participants presented with a headache and in the other they presented headache-free.


Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare

BATHTAP: Further Developments in a Test of Attention to Pain

Publication details

Publication date: 2015
by: University of Bath

Version: 1


URL for this record:

Related papers and books

Attridge, N., Eccleston, C., Noonan, D., Wainwright, E., and Keogh, E., 2017. Headache Impairs Attentional Performance: A Conceptual Replication and Extension. The Journal of Pain, 18(1), 29-41. Available from:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Nina Attridge


Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences