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Without words for emotions: Is the emotional processing deficit in alexithymia caused by dissociation or suppression? Public Deposited

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  • Alexithymia is a trait where individuals have difficulty identifying feeling and finding a word to express emotion. Some studies have suggested that this deficit is due to dissociation (repression), or an inability to perceive emotions, whereas others argued that the deficit is due to suppression of emotional information after it has already been perceived. This study used both behavioral measures (response time) and electrophysiological measures (brain activity) to test these two hypotheses. Both Alexithymia group and non-Alexithymia control group were selected based on their scores on the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). They were asked to search for either fearful or happy faces and determined the color of the box containing the target face. We measured the N2pc effect (an index of attention allocation) and the Pd effect (an index of suppression). In supporting the suppression hypothesis proposed by our earlier study, we expect that the Alexithymia group would produce similar N2pc effects as the control group but exhibit a larger Pd effect than the control group.
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  • Corvallis, Oregon, USA
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