Analgesic Strength of 33 Percent Nitrous Oxide: A Signal Detection Theory Evaluation

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Science  23 Mar 1973:
Vol. 179, Issue 4079, pp. 1246-1248
DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4079.1246


Radiant heat stimulation was applied to volunteers and rating scale responses were obtained to assess the analgesic properties of 33 percent nitrous oxide. The methodology of signal detection theory was applied to the data to demonstrate that nitrous oxide reduces both sensitivity to pain and willingness to report pain. This method is superior to threshold estimation for the evaluation of analgesics.