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Deficits in early emotional reactivity in alexithymia

  • Abstract Alexithymia is characterized by a difficulty in identifying and describing one"s emotions. This study addressed the question of whether alexithymic tendencies are related to limited affective reactivity to briefly presented emotional stimuli. Skin conductance responses were assessed and backward masking was used to minimize elaborated processing of emotional pictures. Results indicated that alexithymic tendencies are associated with smaller electrodermal responses to briefly presented negative pictures. These effects were driven by difficulties in identifying and communicating emotions whereas externally orientated thinking was unrelated to affective reactivity. We conclude that there is an early processing deficit in response to negative stimuli in participants with high scores in alexithymia. Differences in the early emotional reactivity to arousing material could contribute to difficulties in emotional processes related to alexithymia.

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Author:Olga Pollatos, Anna Schubö, Beate M. Herbert, Ellen Matthias, Rainer Schandry
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2008
Year of Completion:2008
Release Date:2017/03/25
Source:Psychophysiology. - ISSN 0048-5772. - 45 (2008), 5, S. 839 - 846
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Strukturbereich Kognitionswissenschaften / Department Psychologie
Peer Review:Referiert