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Regular Article

Intact Physiological Response to Arousal with Impaired Emotional Recognition in Alexithymia

Stone L.A.a · Nielson K.A.a,b

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aDepartment of Psychology, Marquette University, bFoley Center for Aging and Development, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisc., USA

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Psychother Psychosom 2001;70:92–102

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Regular Article

Published online: March 01, 2001
Issue release date: March – April

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS

Abstract

Background: The purpose of the present study was to clarify the relationship between the recognition of emotion and physiological response to emotion (i.e. arousal) in alexithymia. Methods: This study investigated differences in physiological arousal state, as measured by continuous heart rate, electrodermal activity (EDA) and self-reported emotional intensity before and after exposure to an emotionally arousing or neutral videotape among 41 high- or low-alexithymic young adult participants. Results: Across subjects, emotionally negative stimuli produced increased physiological arousal. However, high-alexithymic participants exposed to the arousing videotape did not report increased subjective emotional intensity, as did low-alexithymic participants. In addition, the baseline EDA of high-alexithymic participants was significantly higher than that of the low-alexithymic participants. Conclusions: Results support the prediction that alexithymia leads to a decoupling between subjective and physiological arousal when exposed to emotionally negative stimuli. This decoupling may increase alexithymic individuals’ risks for stress-related illness.

© 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Regular Article

Published online: March 01, 2001
Issue release date: March – April

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS


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