Differential modulation of valence and arousal in high-alexithymic and low-alexithymic individuals

Alexander Heinzel, Ralf Schäfer, Hans Wilhelm Müller, Andre Schieffer, Ariane Ingenhag, Georg Northoff, Matthias Franz, Hubertus Hautzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


High-alexithymic individuals are characterized by an impaired ability to identify and communicate emotions whereas low-alexithymic individuals have a wide-ranging ability to deal with emotions. This study examined the hypothesis that valence and arousal modifications of emotional stimuli differentially modulate cortical regions in high-alexithymic and low-alexithymic individuals. To this end, 28 high-alexithymic and 25 low-alexithymic individuals were investigated with event-related fMRI using visual emotional stimuli. We found differential neural activations in the dorsal anterior cingulate, the insula and the amygdala. We suggest that these differences may account for the impaired ability of high-alexithymic individuals to appropriately handle emotional stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1002
Number of pages5
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • alexithymia
  • amygdale
  • anterior cingulated
  • emotion
  • fMRI
  • insula
  • Toronto Alexithymia Scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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