Impairments of emotion situation priming in alexithymia

Thomas Suslow*, Klaus Junghanns

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
49 Zitate (Scopus)


Clinical observations suggest that alexithymics are impaired in linking emotion-eliciting scenarios and emotion concepts. Research on emotions has produced evidence that different patterns of event features lead to different emotions. Conway and Bekerian (1987) [Conway, M.A., & Bekerian, D.A. (1987). Situational knowledge and emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 1, 145-191] showed that emotion situation information can facilitate the subsequent processing of a related emotion word. This study addressed the question of whether alexithymic tendencies are inversely related to such facilitation effects. Alexithymia was assessed with the 20-Item Toronto-Alexithymia-Scale. A lexical decision task was administered to 31 normal subjects in which emotion targets were primed by emotion situations or neutral filler situations. Results indicate that alexithymic tendencies are negatively related to emotion situation priming. High alexithymics tended to show a negative priming effect, i.e. they manifested a delay in taking lexical decisions to emotion words after presentation of a related emotion situation as compared to an unrelated situation. This processing delay might indicate an allocation of attentional resources to the emotion word when it is presented in the context of an emotion situation in high alexithymics. Our findings are compatible with the theoretical view that affective-cognitive schemata are not well integrated in alexithymic individuals.

ZeitschriftPersonality and Individual Differences
Seiten (von - bis)541-550
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 02.2002

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Gehirn, Hormone, Verhalten - Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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