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"Lacking warmth": Alexithymia trait is related to warm-specific thermal somatosensory processing.

Borhani, K; Làdavas, E; Fotopoulou, A; Haggard, P; (2017) "Lacking warmth": Alexithymia trait is related to warm-specific thermal somatosensory processing. Biol Psychol , 128 pp. 132-140. 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.07.012. Green open access

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Abstract

Alexithymia is a personality trait involving deficits in emotional processing. The personality construct has been extensively validated, but the underlying neural and physiological systems remain controversial. One theory suggests that low-level somatosensory mechanisms act as somatic markers of emotion, underpinning cognitive and affective impairments in alexithymia. In two separate samples (total N=100), we used an established Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) battery to probe multiple neurophysiological submodalities of somatosensation, and investigated their associations with the widely-used Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Experiment one found reduced sensitivity to warmth in people with higher alexithymia scores, compared to individuals with lower scores, without deficits in other somatosensory submodalities. Experiment two replicated this result in a new group of participants using a full-sample correlation between threshold for warm detection and TAS-20 scores. We discuss the relations between low-level thermoceptive function and cognitive processing of emotion.

Type: Article
Title: "Lacking warmth": Alexithymia trait is related to warm-specific thermal somatosensory processing.
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.07.012
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.07.012
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Alexithymia, Emotion processing, Quantitative sensory testing (QST), Somatosensory processig, Thermal perception
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1566960
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