"From Reading to Feeling: How Exposure to Literary Fiction May Enrich Socio-Emotional Understanding among Alexithymic Individuals"
VU University Amsterdam - Clinical Psychology
Dr. Sander L. Koole (VU University Amsterdam)
Prof.dr. Pim Cuijpers (VU University Amsterdam)
1 July 2014 - 1 July 2017
NWO - Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
Alexithymia is a personality dimension characterized by difficulties in emotion processing. Although alexithymia is implicated in many psychological problems, like depression and autism, it is unclear how high-alexithymic individuals might overcome their emotion-processing deficits. To fill this gap, the present proposal advances the idea that alexithymic individuals may be helped by reading literary fiction, which challenges them to consider unfamiliar feelings and experiences. This idea will be tested in behavioral experiments and neuro-imaging studies on the effects of reading literature among individuals varying in alexithymia. These studies will create a new interface between behavioral science, clinical psychology, and literature studies.