Effects of Facial Expressions on Visual Short-Term Memory and Alexithymia Traits

[Speaker] Takahashi, Junichi:1
[Co-author] Gyoba, Jiro:2
1:Fukushima University (Japan), 2:Tohoku University (Japan)

We examined impairment in visual short-term memory (VSTM) processing of facial expressions (happy and angry faces) in alexithymia. Individuals with high and low alexithymia (measured by Toronto Alexithymia Scale: TAS-20) conducted a visual search task (Experiment 1A) and a change-detection task (Experiments 1B and 2). We found individual differences only in the change-detection task (Experiment 1B): Individuals with high alexithymia showed lower sensitivity for the happy faces compared to the angry faces, while individuals with low alexithymia showed sufficient recognition for both facial expressions. Further, in Experiment 2, we investigated whether individual differences were observed in the early storage stage or the later retrieval stage of the VSTM process using a single-probe paradigm. The results showed no effect of single-probe, suggesting that individual differences occurred in the storage stage. Our present results indicate that individuals with high alexithymia show specific VSTM dysfunction in relation to happy, but not angry faces.
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