Uncomfortably numb:new evidence for suppressed emotional reactivity in response to body-threats in those predisposed to sub-clinical dissociative experiences

Dewe, Hayley and Watson, Derrick and Braithwaite, Jason J (2016) Uncomfortably numb:new evidence for suppressed emotional reactivity in response to body-threats in those predisposed to sub-clinical dissociative experiences. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 21 (5). pp. 377-401. ISSN 1354-6805

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Abstract

Introduction: Depersonalisation and derealisation disorders refer to feelings of detachment and dissociation from one’s “self” or surroundings. A reduced sense of self (or “presence”) and emotional “numbness” is thought to be mediated by aberrant emotional processing due to biases in self-referent multi-sensory integration. This emotional “numbing” is often accompanied by suppressed autonomic arousal to emotionally salient stimuli. Methods: 118 participants completed the Cambridge Depersonalisation scale [Sierra, & Berrios, 2000. The Cambridge Depersonalisation Scale: A new instrument for the measurement of depersonalisation. Psychiatry Research, 93, 153–164)] as an index of dissociative anomalous experience. Participants took part in a novel “Implied Body-Threat Illusion” task; a pantomimed injection procedure conducted directly onto their real body (hand). Objective psychophysiological data were recorded via standardised threat-related skin conductance responses and finger temperature measures. Results: Individuals predisposed to depersonalisation/derealisation revealed suppressed skin conductance responses towards the pantomimed body-threat. Although the task revealed a reliable reduction in finger temperature as a fear response, this reduction was not reliably associated with measures of dissociative experience. Conclusions: The present findings significantly extend previous research by revealing emotional suppression via a more direct body-threat task, even for sub-clinical groups. The findings are discussed within probabilistic and predictive coding frameworks of multi-sensory integration underlying a coherent sense of self.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry on 28/07/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13546805.2016.1212703
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2738
Subjects:
ID Code:
81761
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
23 Sep 2016 09:52
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
25 Nov 2020 04:06