Quote from the main article linked at the top (anithurt
>However, this is clearly not the case, as its obvious that intensity makes up a far greater component of HIRT than does duration, especially as that intensity increases.
The graphs didn't appear in my web browser, but I don't think that matters. When you argue from the position that a graph reveals objective attributes that cannot (or have not) been observed directly, you risk several errors. First, you risk that the assumptions behind the graph are wrong, which means that detailed inferences from the graph are unwarranted. Perhaps more abstractly, this type of argumentation either is
exceedingly close to synthetic a priori reasoning
in the absence of empirical fact. Kant argued for this approach and Ludwig von Mises appealed to this type of reasoning to defend Austrian economics (and libertarianism), but analytic philosophers reject it due to its potential to lead to bad conclusions.
The question about how intensity compares to duration might be answered by psychological research in which people are tested in various ways to see how they respond to pain. I recently encountered two sources that commented on this. One was a study by Redelmeier, Katz, and Kahneman (http://tinyurl.com/3mj8ulo
) found that making colonoscopy exams longer by adding a low-pain procedure at the end led people to have more favorable memories of the experience and slightly increased their rate of getting another exam. Another was a TED talk by a guy (from MIT) who had severe burns and suffered for years before getting is PhD in psychology and studying pain by subjecting people to pain (http://blog.ted.com/2010/05/31/dan_ariely_asks/
). His conclusion was that it was better to "rip the bandages off quickly."
The two answers to the pain problem seem to contradict, but insight into the specific situation might reveal more precise answers. Note that it is tricky to even ask the right question: immediate ratings of pain probably differ from "remembered" ratings of pain at some point in the future, and choosing between quick and prolonged pain might depend on the differential consequence of the immediate versus recalled pain.