"I applied to the Scholars program hoping to learn how to effectively and scientifically approach psychological research questions. I hope to continue to sharpen and cultivate my research skills so that I might be better prepare for a doctoral program in clinical psychology."
Social and clinical psychology, emotional intelligence, alexithymia, automaticity and priming.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science for Life
Hobbies and Interests
- Traveling, swing and blues dancing, natural history museums, and cooking.
The Semantic Circumplexes of Indiviudals with Alexithymia
In 1995, Lisa Feldman Barrett found that the average individual tends to emphasize valence (the pleasantness of an emotion) and arousal (the energy level of an emotion) equally when considering the semantic meaning of emotion words. We applied her technique for determining whether participants have this equal emphasis to individuals with alexithymia, the inability to label emotions. We have collected self-report data and using multidimensional scaling of the participants' similarity ratings of 120 pairs of emotion words, we found that individuals do not give the same meaning, in terms of valence and arousal, to emotion words as individuals low in alexithymia. Our findings contribute the idea that alexithymia is not just the inability to connect emotion words to emotional states but that alexithymia is the inability to recognize the meaning of emotion meaning in the same way as healthy controls. This characteristic might contribute to the inability of individuals high in alexithymia being able to effectively their emotions.