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  A cross-modal component of alexithymia and its relationship with performance in a social cognition task battery

Rösch, S., Puhlmann, L. M., & Preckel, K. (2022). A cross-modal component of alexithymia and its relationship with performance in a social cognition task battery. Journal of Affective Disorders, 298(Part A), 625-633. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2021.11.012.

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 Creators:
Rösch, Sarah1, 2, Author              
Puhlmann, Lara M.2, 3, 4, Author              
Preckel, Katrin5, Author              
Affiliations:
1Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_2616696              
3Max Planck Research Group Adaptive Memory, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_2295691              
4Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR), Mainz, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Research Group Social Stress and Family Health, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_3025667              

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Free keywords: Alexithymia; Social cognition; Empathy; Theory of mind; Interoceptive awareness
 Abstract: Background The personality trait alexithymia describes an altered emotional awareness that is associated with a range of social impairments and constitutes a transdiagnostic risk factor for various psychopathologies. Despite the characteristic interoceptive deficits in alexithymia, it is predominantly assessed via self-reports. This can result in unreliable measurements and arguably contributes to the prevailing uncertainty regarding its components, including constricted imaginal processes and emotional reactivity. Methods The current study employed an interview and two validated questionnaires to derive a shared component of multi-modally assessed alexithymia in a German non-clinical sample (n = 78) via prinicipal component analysis. This component was used as a predictor for performance in four behavioural social cognition tasks. The relative importance of this predictor against related variables was assessed via dominance analysis. Results The identified component reflected cognitive alexithymia. Higher cognitive alexithymia scores were associated with less affective distress in an ostracizing task. Dominance analysis revealed the dominance of competing autism traits relative to cognitive alexithymia and competing predictors empathy, depression, and anxiety, in predicting affective distress. Limitations Emotional reactivity was only assessed via self-report and no implicit measures of alexithymia were employed. Due to the low reliability of the self-report measure, no measure of emotional reactivity could be included in the principal component analysis. Conclusions Our results provide compelling evidence that cognitive interoceptive deficits are at the core of alexithymia across assessment modalities. Behavioural data suggest that these deficits result in diminished emotional sensitivity to high-pressure social situations, which may cause a lack of behavioural adaptation.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-07-242021-04-152021-11-052021-11-092022-02-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.11.012
Other: epub 2021
PMID: 34763032
 Degree: -

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Title: Journal of Affective Disorders
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 298 (Part A) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 625 - 633 Identifier: ISSN: 0165-0327
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925480595