Explicit and Implicit Components of the Emotional Processing in Non-organic Vision Loss: Behavioral Evidence About the Role of Fear in Functional Blindness

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Abstract

Non-organic vision loss (NOVL), a functional partial or global vision loss, might be considered a manifestation of conversion disorder. The few previous studies focused on investigating the relationship between cerebral activity and subjective symptoms in NOVL; however, the emotional processing is still neglected. In the present case-controls study, we investigated the capability of two individuals diagnosed with NOVL to recognize implicitly the emotions of fear and anger; this was assessed through a facial emotion recognition task based on the redundant target effect. In addition, the level of alexithymia was measured by asking them to judge explicitly their ability to identify and describe emotions. Both individuals showed selective difficulties in recognizing the emotion of fear when their performance was contrasted with a matched control sample; they also mislabeled other emotional stimuli, judging them as fearful, when they were not. However, they did not report alexithymia when measured using a standard questionnaire. This preliminary investigation reports a mismatch between the implicit (i.e., the behavior in the experimental paradigm) and the explicit (i.e., the subjective evaluation of one's own emotional capability) components of the emotional processing in NOVL. Moreover, fear seems to represent a critical emotion in this condition, as has been reported in other psychiatric disorders. However, possible difficulties in the emotional processing of fear would emerge only when they are inferred from an implicit behavior, instead of a subjective evaluation of one's own emotional processing capability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Blindness
Fear
Emotions
Affective Symptoms
Conversion Disorder
Aptitude
Anger
Psychiatry
Case-Control Studies

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@article{72887e57376447778891443031277584,
title = "Explicit and Implicit Components of the Emotional Processing in Non-organic Vision Loss: Behavioral Evidence About the Role of Fear in Functional Blindness",
abstract = "Non-organic vision loss (NOVL), a functional partial or global vision loss, might be considered a manifestation of conversion disorder. The few previous studies focused on investigating the relationship between cerebral activity and subjective symptoms in NOVL; however, the emotional processing is still neglected. In the present case-controls study, we investigated the capability of two individuals diagnosed with NOVL to recognize implicitly the emotions of fear and anger; this was assessed through a facial emotion recognition task based on the redundant target effect. In addition, the level of alexithymia was measured by asking them to judge explicitly their ability to identify and describe emotions. Both individuals showed selective difficulties in recognizing the emotion of fear when their performance was contrasted with a matched control sample; they also mislabeled other emotional stimuli, judging them as fearful, when they were not. However, they did not report alexithymia when measured using a standard questionnaire. This preliminary investigation reports a mismatch between the implicit (i.e., the behavior in the experimental paradigm) and the explicit (i.e., the subjective evaluation of one's own emotional capability) components of the emotional processing in NOVL. Moreover, fear seems to represent a critical emotion in this condition, as has been reported in other psychiatric disorders. However, possible difficulties in the emotional processing of fear would emerge only when they are inferred from an implicit behavior, instead of a subjective evaluation of one's own emotional processing capability.",
author = "Federica Scarpina and Lisa Melzi and Gianluca Castelnuovo and Alessandro Mauro and Marzoli, {Stefania B} and Enrico Molinari",
year = "2018",
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language = "English",
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pages = "494",
journal = "Frontiers in Psychology",
issn = "1664-1078",
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T2 - Behavioral Evidence About the Role of Fear in Functional Blindness

AU - Scarpina, Federica

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AU - Castelnuovo, Gianluca

AU - Mauro, Alessandro

AU - Marzoli, Stefania B

AU - Molinari, Enrico

PY - 2018

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N2 - Non-organic vision loss (NOVL), a functional partial or global vision loss, might be considered a manifestation of conversion disorder. The few previous studies focused on investigating the relationship between cerebral activity and subjective symptoms in NOVL; however, the emotional processing is still neglected. In the present case-controls study, we investigated the capability of two individuals diagnosed with NOVL to recognize implicitly the emotions of fear and anger; this was assessed through a facial emotion recognition task based on the redundant target effect. In addition, the level of alexithymia was measured by asking them to judge explicitly their ability to identify and describe emotions. Both individuals showed selective difficulties in recognizing the emotion of fear when their performance was contrasted with a matched control sample; they also mislabeled other emotional stimuli, judging them as fearful, when they were not. However, they did not report alexithymia when measured using a standard questionnaire. This preliminary investigation reports a mismatch between the implicit (i.e., the behavior in the experimental paradigm) and the explicit (i.e., the subjective evaluation of one's own emotional capability) components of the emotional processing in NOVL. Moreover, fear seems to represent a critical emotion in this condition, as has been reported in other psychiatric disorders. However, possible difficulties in the emotional processing of fear would emerge only when they are inferred from an implicit behavior, instead of a subjective evaluation of one's own emotional processing capability.

AB - Non-organic vision loss (NOVL), a functional partial or global vision loss, might be considered a manifestation of conversion disorder. The few previous studies focused on investigating the relationship between cerebral activity and subjective symptoms in NOVL; however, the emotional processing is still neglected. In the present case-controls study, we investigated the capability of two individuals diagnosed with NOVL to recognize implicitly the emotions of fear and anger; this was assessed through a facial emotion recognition task based on the redundant target effect. In addition, the level of alexithymia was measured by asking them to judge explicitly their ability to identify and describe emotions. Both individuals showed selective difficulties in recognizing the emotion of fear when their performance was contrasted with a matched control sample; they also mislabeled other emotional stimuli, judging them as fearful, when they were not. However, they did not report alexithymia when measured using a standard questionnaire. This preliminary investigation reports a mismatch between the implicit (i.e., the behavior in the experimental paradigm) and the explicit (i.e., the subjective evaluation of one's own emotional capability) components of the emotional processing in NOVL. Moreover, fear seems to represent a critical emotion in this condition, as has been reported in other psychiatric disorders. However, possible difficulties in the emotional processing of fear would emerge only when they are inferred from an implicit behavior, instead of a subjective evaluation of one's own emotional processing capability.

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