There is growing evidence that individuals are able to understand others emotions because they "embody" them, i.e., re-experience them by activating a representation of the observed emotion within their own body. One way to study emotion embodiment is provided by a multisensory stimulation paradigm called emotional visual remapping of touch (eVRT), in which the degree of embodiment/remapping of emotions is measured as enhanced detection of near-threshold tactile stimuli on ones own face while viewing different emotional facial expressions. Here, we measured remapping of fear and disgust in participants with low (LA) and high (HA) levels of alexithymia, a personality trait characterized by a difficulty in recognizing emotions. The results showed that fear is remapped in LA but not in HA participants, while disgust is remapped in HA but not in LA participants. To investigate the hypothesis that HA might exhibit increased responses to emotional stimuli producing a heightened physical and visceral sensations, i.e., disgust, in a second experiment we investigated participants interoceptive abilities and the link between interoception and emotional modulations of VRT. The results showed that participants disgust modulations of VRT correlated with their ability to perceive bodily signals. We suggest that the emotional profile of HA individuals on the eVRT task could be related to their abnormal tendency to be focalized on their internal bodily signals, and to experience emotions in a "physical" way. Finally, we speculated that these results in HA could be due to a enhancement of insular activity during the perception of disgusted faces.

Dissociation between emotional remapping of fear and disgust in alexithymia

Scarpazza C.;
2015

Abstract

There is growing evidence that individuals are able to understand others emotions because they "embody" them, i.e., re-experience them by activating a representation of the observed emotion within their own body. One way to study emotion embodiment is provided by a multisensory stimulation paradigm called emotional visual remapping of touch (eVRT), in which the degree of embodiment/remapping of emotions is measured as enhanced detection of near-threshold tactile stimuli on ones own face while viewing different emotional facial expressions. Here, we measured remapping of fear and disgust in participants with low (LA) and high (HA) levels of alexithymia, a personality trait characterized by a difficulty in recognizing emotions. The results showed that fear is remapped in LA but not in HA participants, while disgust is remapped in HA but not in LA participants. To investigate the hypothesis that HA might exhibit increased responses to emotional stimuli producing a heightened physical and visceral sensations, i.e., disgust, in a second experiment we investigated participants interoceptive abilities and the link between interoception and emotional modulations of VRT. The results showed that participants disgust modulations of VRT correlated with their ability to perceive bodily signals. We suggest that the emotional profile of HA individuals on the eVRT task could be related to their abnormal tendency to be focalized on their internal bodily signals, and to experience emotions in a "physical" way. Finally, we speculated that these results in HA could be due to a enhancement of insular activity during the perception of disgusted faces.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3345291
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