The construct validity of alexithymia and its assessment using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) in Japan is unknown. Low reliability has been found for the third factor of the TAS-20 in some cultures, and the factor structure for psychosomatic disorder patients has not been adequately investigated. Although alexithymia most likely has certain developmental aspects, this has infrequently been investigated.
The newly-developed Japanese TAS-20 was administered to a normative sample (n = 2,718; 14–84 y.o.), along with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) for cross validation. Psychosomatic patients (n = 1,924, 12–87 y.o.) were tested to evaluate the factor structure in a clinical sample. College students (n = 196) were used for a test-retest study. Internal reliability and consistency were assessed, and the factorial structure was evaluated using confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses for both the normative and the clinical samples. The correlations between the TAS-20 and the NEO-FFI factor scores were evaluated. Age-related and gender differences in the TAS-20 were explored using analysis of variance in the normative sample.
The original three-factor model of the TAS-20 was confirmed to be valid for these Japanese samples, although a 4-factor solution that included negatively keyed items (NKI) as an additional factor was more effective. Significant correlations of the TAS-20 with the NEO-FFI were found, as has been previously reported. Factor analyses of the normative and patient samples showed similar patterns. The TAS-20 total, difficulty in identifying feelings (DIF), and difficulty in describing feelings (DDF) scores were high for teenagers, decreased with age, and from 30s did not change significantly. In contrast, externally oriented thinking (EOT) scores showed an almost linear positive correlation with age. DIF scores were higher for females, while EOT scores were higher for males, without any interaction between gender and age differences.
The original three-factor concept of the TAS-20 was generally supported for practical use. Age-related differences in TAS-20 scores indicate developmental aspects of alexithymia. Alexithymia is made up of two components with different developmental paths: DIF/DDF and EOT.
The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) is commonly thought to subserve primarily cognitive functions, but has been strongly implicated in the allocation of attention to emotional information. In a previous positron emission tomography (PET) study, we observed that women with higher emotional awareness as measured by the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS) showed greater changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in dACC induced by emotional films and recall. In the current study, we tested whether these effects were due to the processing of any non-neutral stimulus, or were specific to conditions of high emotional arousal. Our results extend the previous finding by demonstrating a positive correlation between emotional awareness and dACC activity only in the context of viewing highly arousing pictures. No such relationship was observed when comparing pleasant or unpleasant pictures to neutral or to each other. We also observed that the relationship between LEAS and dACC activity was present in both sexes but stronger in women than men. These results reinforce the concept that greater trait awareness of one's own emotional experiences is associated with greater engagement of the dACC during emotional arousal, which we suggest may reflect greater attentional processing of emotional information.
Late embryogenesis-abundant (LEA) proteins, accumulating to a high level during the late stages of seed development, may play a role as osmoprotectants. However, the functions and mechanisms of LEA proteins remained to be elucidated. Five major groups of LEA proteins have been described. In the present study, we report on the characterization of two members of soybean LEA IV proteins, basic GmPM1 and acidic GmPM28, by circular dichroism and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The spectra of both proteins revealed limited defined secondary structures in the fully hydrated state. Thus, the soybean LEA IV proteins are members of ‘natively unfolded proteins’. GmPM1 or GmPM28 proteins showed a conformational change under hydrophobic or dry conditions. After fast or slow drying, the two proteins showed slightly increased proportions of defined secondary structures (α-helix and β-sheet), from 30 to 49% and from 34 to 42% for GmPM1 and GmPm28, respectively. In the dehydrated state, GmPM1 and GmPM28 interact with non-reducing sugars to improve the transition temperature of cellular glass, with poly-l-lysine to prevent dehydration-induced aggregation and with phospholipids to maintain the liquid crystal phase over a wide temperature range. Our work suggests that soybean LEA IV proteins are functional in the dry state. They are one of the important components in cellular glasses and may stabilize desiccation-sensitive proteins and plasma membranes during dehydration.
Circular dichroism; Fourier transform infrared; LEA protein; Molecular chaperone; Natively unfolded proteins; Protein secondary structure
Conscious awareness of emotion is adaptive and its disruption in schizophrenia can impact social functioning. This study assessed levels of emotional awareness for self and others in social scenarios (LEAS) in 21 individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) and 20 healthy individuals. Individuals with SSD had lower levels of emotional awareness for others in complex social scenarios, but not simple social scenarios; no difference was found in emotional awareness for self. Higher levels of emotional awareness were associated with better quality of life in patients. Patients also reported higher social anhedonia. Healthy individuals’ higher levels of emotional awareness for self were associated with lower anhedonia, but this relationship was not found in SSD patients. Individuals with schizophrenia have particular difficulty anticipating others’ emotional responses in complex social situations. Further, this deficit is independent of anhedonia in SSD patients, indicating a systemic disruption in the integration of emotional processing.
emotion awareness; levels of emotional awareness scale; schizophrenia; emotion; anhedonia
Personality assessment is a potentially important component of clinical and empirical work with neurological patients because (1) individual differences in personality may be associated with different neurological outcomes and (2) central nervous system changes may give rise to alteration in personality. In order for personality assessment to be useful to clinicians and researchers, the tests must be reliable and valid, as self-report measures require certain baseline levels of comprehension and insight, both of which can be compromised by cerebral disease. In this study, we examined the psychometric properties of the widely used NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) in a group of 419 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Our objective was to determine if the NEO-FFI is reliable and valid in this population. Results showed adequate estimates of internal consistency, factorial validity and self-informant correlation that support its use with MS patients. Implications, limitations of the current study and directions for future research are discussed.
personality assessment; psychometrics; reliability; validity; NEO-FFI; Five Factor Model of Personality; multiple sclerosis
Diabetic foot infection is the predominant predisposing factor to nontraumatic lower-extremity amputation (LEA), but few studies have investigated which specific risk factors are most associated with LEA. We sought to develop and validate a risk score to aid in the early identification of patients hospitalized for diabetic foot infection who are at highest risk of LEA.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Using a large, clinical research database (CareFusion), we identified patients hospitalized at 97 hospitals in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007 for culture-documented diabetic foot infection. Candidate risk factors for LEA included demographic data, clinical presentation, chronic diseases, and recent previous hospitalization. We fit a logistic regression model using 75% of the population and converted the model coefficients to a numeric risk score. We then validated the score using the remaining 25% of patients.
Among 3,018 eligible patients, 21.4% underwent an LEA. The risk factors most highly associated with LEA (P < 0.0001) were surgical site infection, vasculopathy, previous LEA, and a white blood cell count >11,000 per mm3. The model showed good discrimination (c-statistic 0.76) and excellent calibration (Hosmer-Lemeshow, P = 0.63). The risk score stratified patients into five groups, demonstrating a graded relation to LEA risk (P < 0.0001). The LEA rates (derivation and validation cohorts) were 0% for patients with a score of 0 and ~50% for those with a score of ≥21.
Using a large, hospitalized population, we developed and validated a risk score that seems to accurately stratify the risk of LEA among patients hospitalized for a diabetic foot infection. This score may help to identify high-risk patients upon admission.
Alexithymia has been a familiar conception of psychosomatic phenomenon. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there were subtypes of alexithymia associating with different traits of emotional expression and regulation among a group of healthy college students.
1788 healthy college students were administered with the Chinese version of the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and another set of questionnaires assessing emotion status and regulation. A hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted on the three factor scores of the TAS-20. The cluster solution was cross-validated by the corresponding emotional regulation.
The results indicated there were four subtypes of alexithymia, namely extrovert-high alexithymia (EHA), general-high alexithymia (GHA), introvert-high alexithymia (IHA) and non-alexithymia (NA). The GHA was characterized by general high scores on all three factors, the IHA was characterized by high scores on difficulty identifying feelings and difficulty describing feelings but low score on externally oriented cognitive style of thinking, the EHA was characterized by high score on externally oriented cognitive style of thinking but normal score on the others, and the NA got low score on all factors. The GHA and IHA were dominant by suppressive character of emotional regulation and expression with worse emotion status as compared to the EHA and NA.
The current findings suggest there were four subtypes of alexithymia characterized by different emotional regulation manifestations.
When symptoms are poorly controlled, patients with bronchial asthma may show a symptom gap: a cognitive divergence between the true severity of symptoms and the severity evaluated by the patients themselves. The aim of this study was to determine which factors (emotional cognition of the self and others) are associated with this symptom gap.
Forty-two patients with bronchial asthma, who were found with the Comprehensive Asthma Inventory (a bronchial asthma symptom questionnaire) to have psychosocial factors associated with a deep concern about the onset of asthma attacks, were studied by means of validated scales for alexithymia (the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20) and for empathy (the Interpersonal Reactivity Index: IRI) and questions about how patients evaluate the severity of asthma.
Of the patients, 42.5% showed a cognitive divergence regarding asthma symptoms. The scores for “perspective taking” on the IRI were significantly higher in patients who felt symptoms were less severe than they actually than in patients who felt symptoms were more severe than they actually were. No association was found between alexithymia and the symptom gap.
The results show that empathy, the ability to understand the emotions of others, is associated with a symptom gap in patients with bronchial asthma and that high scores for “perspective taking” on the IRI may indicate problems of treatment and symptom control in asthma.
Adolescence is a period of developing emotional regulation. However, alexithymia has rarely been examined during this period. The objective of this study is to examine the factor structure and internal consistency of the Korean version of the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20K) in normal adolescents in South Korea.
The TAS-20K was administered to a sample of 290 adolescents aged from 12 to 16 years old. Internal reliability, test-retest reliability, and factorial validity were evaluated.
The three factors of the TAS-20K were confirmed by confirmatory factor analysis. The internal consistency, measured using Cronbach's alpha coefficient was acceptable for difficulty in identifying feelings, good for difficulty in describing feelings, and acceptable for externally oriented thinking.
Our study indicates that the TAS-20K is an appropriate instrument to assess alexithymia in Korean adolescents.
Toronto alexithymia scale; Alexithymia; Adolescents
We examined developmental aspects of the emotional awareness of adolescents by evaluating their responses to a self-reported questionnaire based on the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (TAS-20).
The items of the TAS-20 were modified to make them more understandable by adolescents, and nine new items related to a limited capacity for imagination were added. The Japanese Linguistic Ability Test and the multi-dimensional empathy scale for adolescents were administered to examine concurrent validity. Two hundred and two normative young adolescents and thirty-two adolescent patients with psychosomatic and/or behavioral problems participated in the study. Eighty junior high school students also participated in a separate examination of test-retest reliability.
Thirteen items were extracted after exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and four core factors were identified in the resulting scale: Difficulty Identifying Feelings (DIF), Difficulty Describing Feelings (DDF), Externally-Oriented Thinking (EOT) and Constricted Imaginal Capacities (CIC). Interestingly, scores on the multi-dimensional empathy scale correlated positively with DIF and DDF, but negatively with EOT and CIC. Higher DDF scores were associated with higher Japanese linguistic abilities. DIF/DDF scores were higher for females than males, irrespective of linguistic ability. Test-retest reliability coefficients were significant. The patient group showed significantly higher DIF scores than the normative students.
The present findings indicated that subjective difficulties in identifying and describing feelings are associated with empathetic and linguistic abilities. The developmental aspect to emotional awareness herein described suggests that self-reported questionnaires for alexithymia must be carefully constructed and examined, even for adults.
One central issue in social cognitive neuroscience is that perceiving emotions in others relates to activating the same emotion in oneself. In this study we sought to examine how the ability to perceive own emotions assessed with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale related to both the ability to perceive emotions depicted in point-light displays and the confidence in these perceptions. Participants observed video scenes of human interactions, rated the depicted valence, and judged their confidence in this rating. Results showed that people with higher alexithymia scores were significantly less confident about their decisions, but did not differ from people with lower alexithymia scores in the valence of their ratings. Furthermore, no modulating effect of social context on the effect of higher alexithymia scores was found. It is concluded that the used stimuli are fit to investigate the kinematic aspect of emotion perception and possibly separate people with high and low alexithymia scores via confidence differences. However, a general difference in emotion perception was not detected in the present setting.
The psychobiological orientation inherent in temperament concepts permits a close tie between temperament and the rapidly proliferating research areas of neurosciences and behavioural genetics. Based on developmental and psychobiological studies, the Adult Temperament Questionnaire (ATQ) by Rothbart measures self-regulatory processes in addition to constitutionally based individual reactivity. The purpose of this paper is to validate a German version of the short form of the ATQ with 77 items. 213 psychosomatic inpatients and outpatients and 116 control subjects took part in this study. The study included standardized measures of personality and symptoms. The German version reliably measures the four dimensions negative affect, extraversion, orienting sensitivity and effortful control; subscales were moderately correlated. We found a consistent pattern of correlation to personality (NEO-FFI) and interpersonal problems (IIP), negative affect strongly correlated with neuroticism; effortful control correlated with conscientiousness, orienting sensitivity with openness, and extraversion correlated with the corresponding scale of the NEO-FFI. According to our hypothesis, negative affect was positively correlated with higher distress and physical complaints, while effortful control was negatively correlated with them. When negative affect and effortful control were combined, effortful control had a moderating effect on distress. Clinical and non-clinical samples differed significantly on all dimensions; the ATQ appears to be suitable for differentiating subgroups of patients according to self-regulation.
temperament; personality; Adult Temperament Questionnaire; validation
Throughout the development of psychology the delineation of personality has played a central role. Together with the NEO-PI-R, a questionnaire derived from the Five Factor Model of Personality, and recent advances in research technology it is now possible to investigate the relationship between personality features and neurophysiological brain processes. The NEO-FFI, the short version of the NEO-PI-R, reliably measures five main personality traits: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. As behavior and some psychiatric disorders have been related to interhemispheric connectivity, the present study used the combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure frontal interhemispheric connectivity and its association with personality as indexed by the NEO-FFI. Results demonstrated that prefrontal interhemispheric connectivity between the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex correlates with Agreeableness in healthy subjects. This is the first study to relate personality features to interhemispheric connectivity through TMS–EEG and suggests that Agreeableness relates to the effectiveness of prefrontal communication between hemispheres.
transcranial magnetic stimulation; electroencephalography; interhemispheric connectivity; NEO-PI-R; agreeableness
The 1944 Education Act marked the foundation of the modern School Catering Service. A statutory duty is imposed on Local Education Authorities (LEAs) to provide a 'mid-day dinner...suitable in all respects as the main meal of the day'. LEAs are free to provide meals consistent with broad nutritional guidelines of the Department of Education and Science but financial pressures have a large bearing on this. The traditional 2-course meal is still the norm, although there is a multi-choice menu for the majority of secondary schoolchildren. But a wide choice of food is incompatible with closely prescribed nutritional standards and pupils need to be aware of the implications for their health in the choice of food. The adoption of dietary recommendations for prevention of coronary heart disease would not generate serious practical difficulties for the professional caterer. The technical problems arising from minor adaptations in catering practice would be minimal in comparison to those of cost, education and hence modification of consumer demand. The move away from nutritional standards is likely to accelerate if, owing to financial constraints, the Government withdraws nutritional guidelines or removes the obligation on LEAs to provide a catering service. The danger is that financial considerations will override those of nutrition and a unique opportunity for health education by guidance and example in the schools may be lost.
In this study, the function of a LEA gene (TaLEA1) from Tamrix androssowii in response to heavy metal stress was characterized. Time-course expression analyses showed that NaCl, ZnCl2, CuSO4, and CdCl2 considerably increased the expression levels of the TaLEA1 gene, thereby suggesting that this gene plays a role in the responses to these test stressors. To analyze the heavy metal stress-tolerance mechanism regulated by TaLEA1, TaLEA1-overexpressing transgenic poplar plants (Populus davidiana Dode × P. bollena Lauche) were generated. Significant differences were not observed between the proline content of the transgenic and wild-type (WT) plants before and after CdCl2 stress. However, in comparison with the WT plants, the TaLEA1-transformed poplar plants had significantly higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) activities, and lower malondialdehyde (MDA) levels under CdCl2 stress. Further, the transgenic plants showed better growth than the WT plants did, indicating that TaLEA1 provides tolerance to cadmium stress. These results suggest that TaLEA1 confers tolerance to cadmium stress by enhancing reactive oxygen species (ROS)-scavenging ability and decreasing lipid peroxidation. Subcellular-localization analysis showed that the TaLEA1 protein was distributed in the cytoplasm and nucleus.
LEA gene; cadmium stress; stress tolerance; gene transformation; physiological response
► It is important to maximise the precision of personality measurement in adolescents. ► We apply item response theory (IRT) to the NEO-FFI in an adolescent sample. ► IRT was used to assess item validity and highlight poorly performing indicators. ► Removing poor items reduced measurement error without compromising validity. ► IRT analysis can be used to develop personality measures ensuring item validity.
The present study applied item response theory (IRT) to the NEO five factor inventory (NEO-FFI) completed by a community based sample of adolescents. The results revealed that many of these personality items may not be discriminating well, with some traits demonstrating greater reliability than others. Furthermore, the threshold values highlighted that the majority of the items had skewed responses, suggesting a limited utility of some response categories. Generally, removing poorly discriminating items does not harm external validity, suggesting IRT reduces measurement error and increases reliability without compromising validity.
Personality; Adolescents; Item response theory; External validity
To explore whether personality influences longevity we examined the personality characteristics of centenarians. We developed a new method that compares an actual personality test score for centenarians with a predicted test score for a 100-year-old, calculated from younger controls. The participants consisted of 70 cognitively intact Japanese centenarians aged 100–106 years and 1812 elderly people aged 60–84 years, all residents of Tokyo. The NEO five factor inventory (NEO-FFI) was used to assess the “big five” personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The results showed higher openness in both male and female centenarians, and higher conscientiousness and extraversion in female centenarians, as compared to controls. These results suggest that high scores in the specific personality traits conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness, are associated with longevity. We speculate that these personality traits contribute to longevity through health-related behavior, stress reduction, and adaptation to the challenging problems of the “oldest old”.
centenarian; longevity factors; NEO-FFI; personality traits
Pediatric acuity tests have a variety of optotype designs. Adult performance when discriminating these targets indicated that acuity estimates collected from children are likely to vary based solely on target design.
To compare adult discrimination performance on nine pediatric visual acuity tests to determine the consistency of optotype design.
After their binocular acuity was measured with each test, eight adult observers (mean age, 27 years ± 6.3 SD; three emmetropes and five corrected myopes) were shown isolated single optotypes from the Allen figures, HOTV, Landolt C, Lea Numbers, Lea Symbols, Lighthouse, Patti Pics, Precision Vision numbers, and Tumbling E tests. A one-interval, two-alternative forced-choice protocol was used at a single distance, and each optotype was paired with all optotypes from the same chart. Confusion matrices were generated for each test and Luce's (1963) biased-choice model was fit to each matrix to derive measures of pairwise similarity between the optotypes.
The acuities from the Allen figures (P < 0.001) and HOTV (P = 0.029) were the only ones to differ significantly from the reference Landolt C. The choice-model analyses of the confusion matrices revealed that the Allen figures, HOTV, Lighthouse, Patti Pics, and Precision Vision numbers tests all had significant differences in discriminability of optotypes within the test.
Pediatric acuity test optotypes are not all equally discriminable to adult observers with normal vision and no ocular disorders. The current data suggest that care must be taken when presenting limited numbers of optotypes, as is done with young patients.
Accumulating evidence indicates that cannabis use may be a risk factor for schizophrenia (SZ), and chronic cannabis users score higher than non-users on measures of schizotypal personality traits. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relations between normal personality, schizotypy, and cannabis use. Sixty-two chronic cannabis users and 45 cannabis-naïve controls completed a measure of normal personality, the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), and two measures of schizotypy, the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) and Perceptual Aberration Scale (PAS). Substance use was assessed using the SCID I alcohol/drug module and a locally developed drug use questionnaire. On the NEO-FFI, users scored higher than controls on Openness, but lower on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and endorsed greater schizotypy on the SPQ and PAS. Higher Neuroticism predicted greater schizotypy in both groups, and, higher Extraversion predicted lower negative-syndrome schizotypy among users. Finally, duration of cannabis use was positively correlated with scores on the SPQ and PAS among users, suggesting a relation between overall cannabis use chronicity and schizotypy. These data show that cannabis users differ from non-users on dimensions of normal personality and schizotypy, and provide further evidence that cannabis use is associated with increased levels of psychosis-related personality traits.
Five-factor model; marijuana; Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire; Perceptual Aberration Scale; schizophrenia
We investigated alexithymia, a deficit in the ability to identify and describe one’s emotions, in a sample that included patients with neurodegenerative disease and healthy controls. In addition, we investigated the relationship that alexithymia has with behavioral disturbance and with regional gray matter volumes. Alexithymia was examined with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20, behavioral disturbance was assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, and regional gray matter volumes were obtained from structural magnetic resonance images. Group analyses revealed higher levels of alexithymia in patients than controls. Alexithymia scores were positively correlated with behavioral disturbance (apathy and informant distress, in particular) and negatively correlated with the gray matter volume of the right pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain that is thought to play an important role in self and emotion processing.
The Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural five factor instrument developed to assess emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the psychometric properties for parent and teacher ratings in the Danish version of SDQ for different age groups of boys and girls.
The Danish versions of the SDQ were distributed to a total of 71,840 parent and teacher raters of 5-, 7- and 10- to 12-year-old children included in four large scale Danish cohorts. The internal reliability was assessed and exploratory factor analyses were carried out to replicate the originally proposed five factor structure. Mean scores and percentiles were examined in order to differentiate between low, medium and high levels of emotional and behavioural difficulties.
The original five factor structure could be substantially confirmed. The Conduct items however did not solely load on the proposed Conduct scale and the Conduct scale was further contaminated by non-conduct items. Positively worded items tended to load on the Prosocial scale. This was more so the case for teachers than for parents. Parent and teacher means and percentiles were found to be lower compared to British figures but similar to or only slightly lower than those found in the other Nordic countries. The percentiles for girls were generally lower than for boys, markedly so for the teacher hyperactivity ratings.
The study supports the usefulness of the SDQ as a screening tool for boys and girls across age groups and raters in the general Danish population.
Personality is associated with self-rated health, but prior studies have not examined associations with preference-based measures. We hypothesized similar associations would exist with preference-based health.
We analyzed baseline data from chronically ill individuals enrolled in a self-management intervention. We conducted regression analyses with the EQ-5D summary index score and dimension scores (mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, anxiety/depression) as dependent variables, The key independent variables were NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) personality factors (Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness), adjusting for age, gender, educational level, minority status, and chronic conditions.
Of 415 participants, 245 (59%) had ≥2 chronic conditions, 384 (94%) completed the NEO-FFI and 397 (96%) the EQ-5D. After adjustment, Neuroticism was associated with EQ-5D summary index scores [−0.04 per 1 SD increase in Neuroticism (95% CI −0.06, −0.01)]. Neuroticism [AOR 2.99 (95% CI 2.06, 4.35; P < 0.001)] and Openness [1.32 (95% CI 1.00, 1.75; P = 0.05)] were associated with worse anxiety/depression scores, while Conscientiousness was associated with better usual activities scores [0.66 (95% CI 0.49, 0.89; P = 0.01)].
The associations between personality factors and self-rated health appear to extend to preference-based measures. Future studies should explore whether personality affects preference-based health estimates in cost-effectiveness analyses.
Bias; Chronic disease; Health status; Personality; Quality of life
According to theories of emotional complexity, individuals low in emotional complexity encode and represent emotions in visceral or action-oriented terms, whereas individuals high in emotional complexity encode and represent emotions in a differentiated way, using multiple emotion concepts. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, participants viewed valenced animated scenarios of simple ball-like figures attending either to social or spatial aspects of the interactions. Participant’s emotional complexity was assessed using the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale. We found a distributed set of brain regions previously implicated in processing emotion from facial, vocal and bodily cues, in processing social intentions, and in emotional response, were sensitive to emotion conveyed by motion alone. Attention to social meaning amplified the influence of emotion in a subset of these regions. Critically, increased emotional complexity correlated with enhanced processing in a left temporal polar region implicated in detailed semantic knowledge; with a diminished effect of social attention; and with increased differentiation of brain activity between films of differing valence. Decreased emotional complexity was associated with increased activity in regions of pre-motor cortex. Thus, neural coding of emotion in semantic vs action systems varies as a function of emotional complexity, helping reconcile puzzling inconsistencies in neuropsychological investigations of emotion recognition.
animacy; embodiment; emotion; empathy; functional magnetic resonance imaging
Alexithymia, characterized by difficulties in identifying and describing feelings, is highly indicative of a broad range of psychiatric disorders. Several studies have also discovered the response inhibition ability impairment in alexithymia. However, few studies on alexithymic individuals have specifically examined how emotional context modulates response inhibition procedure. In order to investigate emotion cognition interaction in alexithymia, we analyzed the spatiao-temporal features of such emotional response inhibition by the approaches of event-related potentials and neural source-localization.
The study participants included 15 subjects with high alexithymia scores on the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (alexithymic group) and 15 matched subjects with low alexithymia scores (control group). Subjects were instructed to perform a modified emotional Go/Nogo task while their continuous electroencephalography activities were synchronously recorded. The task includes 3 categories of emotional contexts (positive, negative and neutral) and 2 letters (“M” and “W”) centered in the screen. Participants were told to complete go and nogo actions based on the letters. We tested the influence of alexithymia in this emotional Go/Nogo task both in behavioral level and related neural activities of N2 and P3 ERP components.
We found that negatively valenced context elicited larger central P3 amplitudes of the Nogo–Go difference wave in the alexithymic group than in the control group. Furthermore, source-localization analyses implicated the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as the neural generator of the Nogo-P3.
These findings suggest that difficulties in identifying feelings, particularly in negative emotions, is a major feature of alexithymia, and the ACC plays a critical role in emotion-modulated response inhibition related to alexithymia.
Negative emotional arousal in response to stress and drug cues is known to play a role in the development and continuation of substance use disorders. However, studies have not examined behavioral indicators of such arousal.
The current study examined behavioral and bodily arousal in response to stress and drug cue in individuals with alcohol dependence and cocaine dependence as compared to healthy controls using a new scale.
Fifty-two alcohol dependent (AD group), 45 cocaine dependent (COC group), and 68 healthy controls (HC group) were exposed to individually developed stressful, drug-cue, and neutral-relaxing imagery. Behavioral and bodily responses were assessed with a new scale, the Behavioral Arousal Scale (BAS).
The BAS showed acceptable inter-rater reliability and internal consistency and correlated with subjective negative emotion and craving. BAS scores were higher in stress than neutral conditions for all three groups. COC participants showed higher BAS response to stress than AD or HC participants. COC and AD participants showed greater BAS response to drug cue than HC participants.
Behavioral arousal is a domain in which stress and drug related arousal is expressed and assessment of this domain could provide unique information about vulnerability to craving and relapse in addicted populations.
behavioral; craving; stress; addiction