Institutions: McGill University, Department of Psychology
Research interests: pain, emotion, music, brain imaging
Dr. Roy’s laboratory investigates the neural mechanisms underlying the subjective experience of pain, including the effects of music on pain perception. While specialized peripheral nerve cells are typically responsible for initiating pain, there are situations where pain can occur without nociceptor activation. This is because the subjective experience of pain depends on complex patterns of neural activity distributed over several brain regions. Pain is defined as a conscious experience, and therefore feeling pain requires assessing the short- and long-term meaning of painful sensations for one’s self. Dr. Roy’s research aims to uncover how the brain produces pain and to find ways to alleviate it, including investigating the impact of music on pain perception. To achieve these goals, various brain imaging techniques such as MRI, EEG, and MEG are employed, along with psychological and psychophysiological methods like pain ratings, response times, decision-making, nociceptive flexion reflexes, skin conductance responses, and more.