Optimal intertemporal decisions arise from the balance between an emotional-visceral component, signaling the need for immediate gratification, and a rational, long-term oriented component. Alexithymia, a personality construct characterized by amplified sensitivity to internal bodily signals of arousal, may result in enhanced activation of the emotional-visceral component over the cognitive-rational one. To test this hypothesis, participants with high- and low-alexithymia level were compared at an intertemporal decision-making task, and their choice behavior correlated with their interoceptive sensitivity. We show that high-alexithymic tend to behave more impatiently than low-alexithymic in intertemporal decisions, particularly when the sooner reward is immediately available. Moreover, the greater their sensitivity to their own visceral sensations, the greater the impatience. Together, these results suggest a disproportionate valuation of reward available immediately in high alexithymia, possibly reflecting heightened perception of bodily physiological signals, which ultimately would bias their intertemporal decision-making.

Now or not-now? The influence of alexithymia on intertemporal decision-making

Scarpazza C.;Sellitto M.;
2017

Abstract

Optimal intertemporal decisions arise from the balance between an emotional-visceral component, signaling the need for immediate gratification, and a rational, long-term oriented component. Alexithymia, a personality construct characterized by amplified sensitivity to internal bodily signals of arousal, may result in enhanced activation of the emotional-visceral component over the cognitive-rational one. To test this hypothesis, participants with high- and low-alexithymia level were compared at an intertemporal decision-making task, and their choice behavior correlated with their interoceptive sensitivity. We show that high-alexithymic tend to behave more impatiently than low-alexithymic in intertemporal decisions, particularly when the sooner reward is immediately available. Moreover, the greater their sensitivity to their own visceral sensations, the greater the impatience. Together, these results suggest a disproportionate valuation of reward available immediately in high alexithymia, possibly reflecting heightened perception of bodily physiological signals, which ultimately would bias their intertemporal decision-making.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3345298
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 10
  • Scopus 18
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 16
social impact