ATTENTION - EMOTIONS - ALEXYTHYMIA
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The paper is aimed at finding relations between selective function of attention and alexithymia. We also tried to answer the question if attentional selection varies in different emotional states. Selective attention was studied with own modification of Moron test. The test consists in a matrix containing 400 schematic expressions of various emotions and SS are asked to find and mark faces with expression of particular emotion within 2 minutes. Study 1 was carried out on 198 subjects with different levels of alexithymia (abstinent alcoholics, medical faculty students, people working in various institutions matched to alcoholics). Main effects of group and kind of emotion were found for all indices registered in Moron test. Abstinent alcoholics got the worst results in Moron test, whereas medical faculty students got the best results. Attentional selection was better in case of expressions of anger and sadness than in case of joy. Study 2 was carried out on group of students (N = 148). Three versions of Moron test were used: subjects were instructed to find and mark expressions of sadness, joy and anger. Two versions of instruction were introduced. First one required to find and mark the same faces as were shown to the subjects. In the second one a name of emotion was given as well as schematic face displaying this emotion. Main effect of the level of alexithymia was not found. The best results were obtained both for sadness and anger and the worst - for joy. Second version of instruction giving both name of emotion and facial expression of that emotion lead to worse results comparing to version in which only pictures of expression were given. None of interactions in study 1 and 2 was significant. Implications of these results for both theory of selective attention and theory of alexithymia are analyzed.
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