This special issue brings together two important reviews and seven cutting-edge empirical papers concerning the influence of alexithymia on cognitive and emotional processing. Alexithymia is a multifaceted construct that is characterised by difficulties identifying one’s feelings; difficulties describing one’s feelings to others; and an externally focused, utilitarian cognitive style. In this paper, we begin by considering how emotion science has evolved in its understanding of personality traits, before highlighting the potential importance of alexithymia research for the field of cognition and emotion. After summarising the historical context of alexithymia research, we consider the contributions of the featured papers to the literature of cognition and emotion. The collected works highlight that alexithymia influences several aspects of how one perceives and responds to neutral and emotional situations, by impacting upon multiple processes (attention, appraisals, memory, language and behaviour), showing the importance of drawing better connections amongst multiple processes, toward disentangling the effects of early processes on later ones. A lack of correspondence between processes, as well as amongst alexithymia facets, is another central finding of the special issue. This pattern is thought to lead to ineffective and inflexible emotion regulation and to pose significant risks for physical and mental illness.
- attention;– appraisals;– behaviors;– memory;– language
- emotion regulation