Alexithymia and Impairment of Decoding Positive Affect: An fMRI Study

Colin Hesse, Kory Floyd, Emily A. Rauscher, Nick E. Frye-Cox, John P. Hegarty, Huiling Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Previous research has implicated alexithymia as a psychological impairment to accurately decode emotional messages. This study attempted to explore potential neurological reasons for this impairment. Using functional brain imaging procedures, an experimental design was undertaken to assess group differences between individuals high and low in alexithymia on brain activation while viewing images of individuals displaying neutral or positive affect. While controlling for activation due to neutral affect images, results showed less activation for alexithymic versus nonalexithymic individuals due to positive affect images in several areas of the brain, including the amygdala and the hippocampus. Several implications and directions for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-806
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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