Recently, some efforts have been made to determine whether deficits in emotional regulation (Alexithymia) are associated with an impairment of Theory of Mind (ToM). Alexithymia does not explicitly include deficits in the ToM; however, as it is assumed in this study, the lack of knowledge of their own emotional experiences might be associated with a deficit in the Affective ToM in alexithymics. Consistently, Alexithymic people show a poor performance in identifying the emotional meanings of facial expressions, but only a few studies have focused on the relationship between Alexithymia and skills in the affective ToM. This study was aimed to investigate this relationship. Two hundred eighty-nine adults (M/F=134/155) aged between 28 and 62 years participated in the study. The following tests were administered: Reading the Mind in the Eyes to evaluate the Affective ToM, the Twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale to evaluate Alexithymia and Visual Analogue Scales to assess the mood. The results supported the hypothesis that the lack of knowledge of the emotional experiences in Alexithymia is associated with a deficit in the Affective ToM. The difficulty to describe feeling and the externally oriented thinking were the characteristics of the Alexithymia that more impaired the affective ToM. Further, both Affective ToM and Alexithymia had very similar effects on mood. These findings highlight a clear relationship between Alexithymia and affective ToM. It is worth noting that these results have been found by considering a group of non-clinical individuals numerically greater compared to other studies, which allows extending the observed results to the general population. Interesting theoretical implications may derive from these findings: Alexithymia and Affective ToM might be considered as two different aspects of a single function, operationally defined respectively in terms of “deficit" and "competence" of the same cognitive processing of affective information.
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|Titolo:||Relationship between affective tom and alexithymia.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||04a Atto di comunicazione a congresso|