- Cognitive neuropsychology of alexithymia: Implications for personality typology.
- Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Introduction: We examine the cognitive neuroscience of the five components of the alexithymia syndrome, and propose a classification of alexithymia types based on psychobiological traits. Method: Literature review. Results: The following neural structures have been shown to be prominent in emotional function: right and left hemisphere, corpus callosum, anterior commissure, anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and insular cortex. The specific relevance of these structures to alexithymia is discussed. Conclusions: The following conclusions and/or propositions are presented: The right hemisphere produces a global, nonverbal overview of emotional information; the left hemisphere seems dedicated to analysing emotions and higher explicit emotional cognitions. Both orbitoprefrontal cortices are important in affective aspects of alexithymia, while right temporal cortex is involved in cognitive aspects. Two subparts of anterior cingulate fulfil functions in the affective and cognitive dimensions of alexithymia. The amygdalae are involved in both cognitive and affective aspects. All structures mentioned can modulate one another. The role of interhemispheric information transfer via the corpus callosum and the anterior commissure is also discussed. The evidence that that cognitive processing of emotional information inhibits affective processing of such information is discussed in terms of its implications for a theory of alexithymia subtypes.
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