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Title: Clarifying the relationship between alexithymia and subjective interoception
Authors: Gaggero, Giulia
Bizzego, Andrea
Dellantonio, Sara
Pastore, Luigi
Lim, Mengyu
Esposito, Gianluca
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Gaggero, G., Bizzego, A., Dellantonio, S., Pastore, L., Lim, M. & Esposito, G. (2021). Clarifying the relationship between alexithymia and subjective interoception. PloS One, 16(12), e0261126-.
Journal: PloS one 
Abstract: The long-standing hypothesis that emotions rely on bodily states is back in the spotlight. This has led some researchers to suggest that alexithymia, a personality construct characterized by altered emotional awareness, reflects a general deficit in interoception. However, tests of this hypothesis have relied on heterogeneous assessment methods, leading to inconsistent results. To shed some light on this issue, we administered a battery of self-report questionnaires of interoception and alexithymia to three samples from Italy, the U.S., and Singapore (N = 814). Correlation and machine learning analyses showed that alexithymia was associated with deficits in both subjective interoceptive accuracy and attention. Alexithymics' interoceptive deficits were primarily related to difficulty identifying and describing feelings. Interoception showed a weaker association with externally-oriented thinking as operationalized by the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and no association with the affective dimension of alexithymia later introduced by the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (BVAQ). We discuss our results with reference to the theoretical and psychometric differences between these two measures of alexithymia and their shortcomings. Overall, our results support the view that interoceptive deficits are a core component of alexithymia, although the latter cannot be reduced to the former.
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261126
Schools: Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) 
School of Social Sciences 
Rights: © 2021 Gaggero et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles
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