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RELATIONSHIPS AMONG ALEXITHYMIA, ALTRUIS M, AND INTERPERSONAL TRUST BY FELIX ACUA A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Psychology New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under th e sponsorship of Gordon Bauer Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
ii Dedication I dedicate this thesis to all the people with a longing for deeper emotional experiences and connections with others.
iii Acknowledgements I believe everyone has heard me talk about my thesis in the past year has been supportive in some sense. Friends: even th ough we sometimes bought into the narrative of wanting to be the leading experts in our topics (all in a couple of months) we somehow ma naged to get out of this mindset together. Through small victories and failures we managed to simply do the work it took to write a n undergraduate thesis For this I owe a big thank you to my sponsor, who at times might have thought I made things unnecessa rily difficult for myself. I appreciate the lack of pity and the demand for clear, accessible work; ultimately this was completely in line with my intentions. Along those lines, thank you Sarah Hernand ez (the student) for helping me think of a more logica l outline for my thesis. This was accomplished in about an through the first drafts of my thesis and found that it was perfectly legible. I now know who not to go for questi f the sometimes nece ssary lack of acknowledgements, all of it has helped me arrive at this point.
iv TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION ii ACKNOWLED GEMENTS ii i TABLE OF CONTENTS iv ABSTRACT v INTRODUCTION 1 Emotions and Evaluations of Others 3 Alexithymia 6 Generalized Trust 9 Altruism 1 3 The Current Study 1 5 METHOD 17 RESU LTS 2 0 DISCUSSION 2 2 CONCLUSION 2 6 REFERENCES 28 TABLE 1 33 APPENDIX 34 FOOTNOTES 39
v RELATIONSHIPS AMONG ALEXITHYMIA, ALTRUIS M, AND INTERPERSONAL TRUST Felix Acua New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT The current study sought to examine relationships among alexithymia or diminished engagement with one's emotions, altruism, and first hand interpersonal trust (FIT). Three questionnaires were administered to 61 participants in order to examine potential relationships among the variables in question. FIT was measured using the added scores of two factors present in a generalized trust measure. Three hypotheses were advanced: (1) alexithymia is negatively related to first hand generalized trust; (2) altruism is positively related to first hand generalized trust; (3) alexithymia predicts first hand generalized trust to a higher extent than altruism. None of the hypotheses were confirmed. However, subsequent analyses showed a negative correla tion between first subcomponent of the alexithymia scale used in this study. Results show that individuals' tendency to devalue their inner emotional life in their habitual thinking is associat ed with higher levels of mistrust. It is suggested that future studies on alexithymia look at the role of attributions to physiological arousal in the formation of social attitudes.
vi Dr. Gordon Bauer Thesis Sponsor
1 Relationships among Alexithymia, Altruism, and Interpersonal Trust Trust, as considered in our day to day lives, is a concept frequently maintained within the topic of intimate relationships. Yet trust goes well beyond close relationships and structures the way society functions by providing limits to the set of behavioral expectancies placed on others. Trust, in a generalized way, is a sense of reliance on the enactment of expected behaviors; whether or not these are institutionalized is a different issue. This study i s an attempt to examine a general sense of trust as it relates to ones' altruistic behaviors and awareness of emotions. The sense of trust this research explored is that which develops from exchanges that are not necessarily mutually benefiting in an immed iate sense; these actions, which fall under the category of reciprocal altruism, serve as trust building behaviors (Rilling & Sanfey, 2011). In contrast, emotional self awareness, or lack thereof, was explored as it relates to the disposition to engage in trust building behaviors. In a study by Qualter, Quinton, Wagner, and Brown (2009), alexithymia, a construct that refers to people's inability to identify, symbolize, and value emotional experiences and its relationship to interpersonal mistrust, and lon eliness were examined. Their findings, which are described in more detail later in this review, showed that alexithymia was positively related with mistrust and loneliness. Another study, in which the target population was composed of somatization disord er 1 in patients, showed that alexithymia was positively related to a sense of mistrust and negatively related to sense of trust and trust mistrust resolution (difference between the trust and mistrust) (Landa, 2009). More importantly, non
2 alexithymic indiv iduals scored lower in the mistrust factor and higher in the trust and trust mistrust resolution factors than alexithymic individuals. Due to the breadth of research on awareness of affective states conducted using alexithymia scales, and the significant relationship between alexithymia and trust suggested by Qualter et al. (2009) and Landa (2009), the present study used the construct of alexithymia as an index of awareness of affective states. On the whole, the present study explored whether potential co rrelations exist among interpersonal trust, altruism, and alexithymia in a non clinical sample of college students. The present review of the literature is structured in accordance to different theoretical models used to explain the processes underlying trust, prosocial behavior, and awareness of emotions. The first section examines associations between emotion and evaluations of others. More specifically, the automaticity and primacy of will be social cognition. The second section introduces and functionally defines alexithymi a through a discussion of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS 20; Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994). Relationships among alexithymia and attachment styles are then presented in order to show potential developmental origins of alexithymia. The third section the n explores the link between alexithymia and trust and introduces a generalized sense of trust as one of this study's objects of research. The way in which generalized trust, as opposed to specific trust is connected to the evaluation of others is then men tioned. The fourth section discusses altruism and its connection to trust.
3 This is possible since the measure of altruism used in this study is indicative of reciprocal altruism ( Johnson, Danko, Darvill, Bochner Bowers Huang, Park, Pecjak, Rahim, & Penni ngton, 1989) which is considered by Rilling and Sanfey (2011) to be a form of trust building behavior. Emotions and Evaluations of Others The way that psychology and philosophy have framed the way that humans form relationships has largely prioritized i ntention, rationality, and explicit cognitive processes (Bucci, 1997). What is often overlooked are the subconscious and non linear processes underlying cognition (Bucci, 1997). Studies on emotion and individuals' capacity and disposition to experience emo tion in its various forms provide an outlook into the implicit link between cognition and behavior. In his review of the literature on moral judgments, Haidt (2001) suggested that psychology and philosophy alike tend to adopt a rationalist model in order to interpret the processes preceding evaluations model, as defined by Haidt (2001), posits that a situation that elicits a judgment might be informed but never determined by affect. Instead, moral emotions (e. g., sympathy) influence moral reasoning, which then leads to a judgment. Haidt (2001) utilized the research of Zajonc (1980) in order to propose that automatic affective evaluations are triggered before justifications for such evaluations are fabricated. In his study, Zajonc (1980) first described an array of research pointing at the relative primacy of affect in many kinds of cognitive processes. His review showed that extensive research on the topic of stimulus exposure and affect indicates that people h ave a tendency to prefer things they are familiar with. More importantly,
4 Zajonc and Kunst Wilson (1980) showed that evaluations of preference (liking vs. not liking) for an object precedes its conscious recognition. In their experiment, participants were first exposed to random sequences of images for a brief duration that made the stimuli generally unrecognizable. Subsequently, participants were shown two slides for one second and then asked which of the two images had been flashed previously and which im age they preferred. Results showed that evaluations based on preference predicted the discrimination of old vs. new visual stimuli, whereas recognition of such stimuli did not. These results show that even brief exposure to stimuli can lead to the formatio reactions to such stimuli. But more importantly, the results obtained by Kunst Wilson and Zajonc (1980) imply that affective reactions are not necessarily a result of rational evaluations of stimuli and that they po tentially precede conscious evaluations of what has previously been encountered. Furthermore, the role of emotional states in the formation of attitudes is highly important due to the positive effect of emotional arousal on the consolidation of long term m emories (Goldstein, 2008). Regarding social processes, face recognition and interpretation of utterances are both enhanced by emphases on the affective significance of stimuli. In the case of face recognition, individuals are better able to remember prev iously evaluated faces if such evaluations utilize evaluations of emotional characteristics as opposed to those made using intentional analyses of faces' metric proportions (Patterson & Baddeley, 1977) The findings of Patterson and Baddeley (1977) make se nse if one considers that a ffective responses following exposure to faces expressing any sort of emotion is automatic (Haxby, Hoffman, & Gobbini, 2002) and that this phenomenon is a useful
5 tool in the sense that it allows for quick inferences about a stra nger's character. Thus, f irst interactions with strangers are a type of situation in which automatic affective responses are triggered. These aforementioned studies on facial cue processing indicate that the process of forming impressions of strangers is p otentially influenced by automatic affective reactions to facial cues to a greater extent than judgments, for example, based on the persons' shoes or hairdo. This is plausibly due to the limitations of language regarding communication among humans belongin g to different linguistic groups. Similarly, interpretations of affect in recorded utterances with masked semantic content but unaltered intonations have been shown to correlate among groups exposed to widely differing levels of masking ( Scherer, Koivumaki & Rosenthal, 1972). These results show that affective cues, such as intonation, are processed separately from verbal cues and their semantic representations. A way to think about the representations that might be at play when affective reactions are tr (1997). The research of Bucci (1997) explores how we compute the meaning of events in relation to us. Her research focuses on how stimuli in the environment are organized into categories t hat are verbally accessible. Emotion schemas, in the function that Bucci assigns them, are one form of categorization. The process through which emotion schemas are formed, roughly speaking, is characterized by the potentially unintentional clustering of attributes in stimuli perceived in the outside world so as to produce different prototypic forms. These forms are symbolic and can be accessed and manipulated through conscious, verbal processes, but not necessarily so. In respect to emotion, clustered re presentations of
6 stimuli are transformed into emotion schemas through repeated exposure to events (p. 195). Taking into consideration that every form of cognition we ex perience is partly emotional, even if means liking or not liking something (Zajonc, 1980), our relationship to our preexisting emotion schemas plays a crucial role in our lives. ngs we experience when, for example, we meet someone new. For example, if every person that frequently smiles at you has evoked feelings of trust in you, it is likely that when you meet a new smiling person you will experience a positive emotion. Of course there are countless ways to smile and our facial reading faculties can pick up on minute nuances that lead to more specific schemas. Alexithymia One factor that could potentially be involved in different forms of engagement with one's emotional schemas is alexithymia. The study of humans' ability to identify and conceptualize their emotions has spurred a lot of interest in psychology since the 1982). Notwithstanding, the concept and its functional definition have evolved tremendously. Recent advances in the study of this trait have been obtained predominantly through the use of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994). The TAS 20 is used categorically and dimensionally. However, alexithymia has yet to be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In
7 accordance to the notion that alexithymia is a personality trait and not a condition, Parker, Keef er, Taylor, and Bagby (2008) suggested that the scale could be more productive in therapy when used dimensionally as opposed to categorically. The scale is comprised of three factors, difficulty identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (D DF), and externally oriented thinking (EOT). To clarify, the details in life, leading to (Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994, p. 24 ). As posited by Moormann, Bermond, Vorst, Bloemendaal, Teijin, and Rood (2008), the TAS 20 measures a specific type of alexithymia: that of individuals who experience low degrees of emotional arousal and are characterized by low levels of sociability. In their research, Moormann et al. (2008) used a different measure of alexithymia: the Bermond Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (BVAQ 20B; Bermond, Oosterveld, & Vorst, 1994) The BVA Q 20B measures three types of alexithymia. Type I alexithymia characterizes the form of alexithymia measured through the TAS 20, that of asocial individuals with diminished affect. Individuals characterized by Type I alexithymia, as described by Moormann e t al. (2008), tend to show high levels of self sufficiency and emotional detachment, and low levels of empathy, sociability, and range of emotional expressions. fantasy life in combination with poorly develope d cognitions accompanying the life, but with well
8 the more narrowly focused differentiation of alexithymia ty pes is an important advance in the affect disorder literature, the TAS 20 is the most widely used scale in the field. Taking into consideration that up to this day the scale appears to continue being the preferred assessment of alexithymia, the current res earch focuses on research conducted using the TAS 20, which indicates various aspects of the Type I alexithymia profile. The characteristics of Type I alexithymia are potentially indicative of emotional schemas that lead to the avoidance of social intera ctions. Given that attachment styles are potential indicators of the trajectory of one's emotion schemas throughout life, a link between alexithymia and insecure attachment styles could consequently be the problem. A study by Montebarocci, Codispoti, Balda ro, and Rossi (2003) addressed this question. They evaluated a variety of articles suggesting a link between alexithymia and poor parent to child emotional bonding. The lack of affect in family dynamics could be caused by a variety of reasons, two of which are repression of the child's emotional expression and the lack of role models that express emotion freely for the child. Because attachment styles tend to remain stable throughout a person's lifetime, Montebarocci et al. (2003) examined the relationship between adult attachment styles and alexithymia. The measure of attachment style used was composed of five different factors. One factor represented secure discomfort with c loseness, relationships as secondary, need for approval, and Alexithymia was measured using the TAS 20.
9 Montebarocci et al. (2003) found that results showed that total and subcomponent scores on the TAS 20 were negatively related to the confidence factor of the attachment assessment. Lower scores on the confidence scale indicated lower levels of confidence in oneself and others. Scores on the attachment factors and TAS 20 total and factor scores exhibited significant correlations. Individuals who reported greater difficulty identifying and describing their emotions also showed higher levels of discomfort with closeness, relationships as secondary, need for approval, and preoccupation with relationships. Externally oriented thinking, on the other hand, was only associated with discomfort with closeness, relationships as secondary, and preoccupation with relationships. The relationship between externally oriented thinking and need for approval was not found to be significant. This findings is perhaps due to a tendency for individuals who score higher in externally oriented thinking to be less interdependent with others in relation to individuals who might exhibit more diffi culties identifying and describing emotions (Konrath, Grynberg, Corneille, Hammig & Luminet, 2011). Generalized Trust Interpersonal trust, as a disposition that is influenced by how individuals act towards oneself and by how one acts towards others, is p resumably influenced by one's emotional engagement in a bidirectional manner also. As Hesse and Floyd (2011) showed, alexithymic individuals were evaluated differently than non alexithymics on a variety of characteristics by confederates. After completing a 7 point scale version of the TAS 20 participants were classified as: alexithymic if they scored above 84 points; non alexithymics if they scored below 50 points; as potential
10 confederates if they scored between 51 and 79 points. Evaluations of alexithymi cs and non alexithymics occurred after a 10 in which participants were actually unfamiliar with their partners. Experimental participants were made to believe that they were randomly chosen to begin asking their confederate partner the questions designed for the activity. After the activity was done confederates were asked to evaluate their alexithymic or non alexithymic partner on a variety on measures. Results showed that alexithymics were rated as being more fo rmal and less open and composed than non alexithymics. Additionally, attraction to alexithymics' appearance, personality, and skills or abilities was lower than for non alexithymics. These results indicate potential causes for the asocial and externally or iented attitude exhibited by individuals with high levels of alexithymia. A formal, uneasy, and distant attitude is likely to prevent individuals from connecting with others in a manner that facilitates the formation of interpersonal bonds. Further evid ence for a relationship between alexithymia and limitations relating to others are provided by Qualter et al. (2009). They found that alexithymia, measured with the TAS 20, was positively correlated with loneliness as well as generalized trust, which was measured using a measure of interpersonal distrust included in an eating disorder inventory. The loneliness scale examined participants levels of loneliness in three domains: romantic, family, and social. Results showed that alexithymia was positively corr elated with interpersonal distrust and loneliness. Even more interesting are the relationships exhibited between difficulty describing feelings (DDF) and the family and social indexes of loneliness, and externally oriented thinking (EOT) and romantic lonel iness. Given that Hesse and Floyd (2011)
11 observed that alexithymic individuals are perceived to be less attractive, and that those findings were associated with higher ratings of distant and formal behavior on the alexithymic individuals' part, it is not surprising that externally oriented thinking was associated with romantic loneliness. Of higher importance, however, is the link between difficulty describing feelings, familial and social loneliness, and interpersonal distrust. Although a direct relations hip between interpersonal distrust and family and social loneliness was found, the interaction between distrust and difficulty describing feelings predicted family and social loneliness to a higher extent. A possible explanation for these results is that u ndesirable family dynamics underlie difficulties developing a trust in others that is potentially required to have the confidence to describe one's feelings. The problem of experiencing difficulty engaging with one's emotions also influences social cogni tion. As Tankersley (2008) suggests, awareness of one's own emotional states is directly involved in the assessment of others' trustworthiness. The human faculty to infer others' psychological states in order to evaluate whether a person is trustworthy can experiencing the emotion(s) another is expressing (Tankersley, 2008, p. 52). What is more, high alexithymia (HA) individuals have an impaired ability to identify emotions from facial images and a ttribute non verbal an ability to assess others' trustworthiness is impaired in terms of emotional contagion and emotion recognition.
12 The importance of emotional awareness as a faculty for evaluating trustworthiness makes sense within the context of evolutionary adaptiveness. A person's criteria for the evaluation of trustworthiness should protect the individual from people that do not contribute fairly in exchange s. The prospect of blind trust, in which the reciprocation of one's contribution is expected invariably, is not adaptive. The extent of the validity of this argument is contingent upon the prevalence of self interested behavior exhibited in one's environm ent. But because self favoring behaviors are undoubtedly an occurrence in our society, trusting others presumably involves the evaluation of others' intentions. Evidence for this assumption is provided by Carter and Weber (2010), whose findings showed a po sitive relationship between accurate perceptions of trustworthiness and a generalized willingness to trust. In their experiment participants were given a generalized trust survey and, several days later, asked to identify whether videos of interviewees app lying for a job were truthful or not. Eight videos were shown, in four the interviewees lied and in the rest they were truthful. Results showed that individuals that reported higher levels of trust were more accurate in their assessment of the interviewees Given the significance that assessments of trustworthiness have in our lives, the experience of trust has been studied extensively. Research on trust examines its implications in the interpersonal, organizational, and political spheres of social life. In fact, generalized trust has been widely considered as the primary component of social capital (Delhey, Newton, and Welzel, 2011; Stolle & Hooghe, 2004). The importance of trust as a component of social capital, as argued by Stolle and Hooghe (2004), is its permanence over time (from adolescence to adulthood) and its indication of the
13 norms of reciprocity people acquire early in life. In their research, levels of generalized trust were measured twice with a seven year interval between each assessment. Res ults showed that generalized trust scores were stable over time, suggesting generalized trust is a personality attribute. One form of generalized trust that has been researched widely is interpersonal viors. The introduction of the construct is attributed to Rotter (1967), with his development of the Interpersonal Trust Scale (ITS). The conceptualization of the interpersonal trust construct as a generalized social attitude was achieved through the emplo yment of social learning theory. According to Rotter, people construct a sense of trust over time through the observation of events in which their expectations of preferred outcomes are learned sense of trust d eveloped through the appraisal of the behaviors of various social objects, such as politicians, strangers, For about two decades the construct of interpersonal trust, as measured by the ITS, received a vast amount of interest as a personality attribute. However, findings from an analysis on the multidimensionality of the ITS revealed that the scale did not measure a single attribute but a set of independent factors (Chun & Campbel l, 1974). Chun and Campbell's (1974) analysis of the scale suggest that two of the four independent factors in the scale refer to individuals' direct sense of altruistic reciprocity. The two relevant factors are comprised of three questionnaire items eac h, that in spite of what people say, most people are primarily interested in their own
14 overcharge exploitations items evaluate general views about others' tendencies to contribute proportionately in exchanges. Similarly, the reliable role performance refers to the fulfillment of expectations, but for specific exchanges involving specific roles. The place where we can omitted from preliminary analyses since these items do not relate directly to instances in which an individual might have experienced a breach of trust relating to norms of reciprocity. Because the majority of participant s are not likely to have had any interactions with individuals managing political, media, or other large scale societal institutions, their evaluations of these statements are not expected to be directly related to a form of interpersonal trust that is con tingent on awareness of one's own emotions. Altruism In social perception, trust indicates the degree of uncertainty in our evaluations of whether others' behaviors are reciprocally altruistic or self serving. In Rilling and Sanfey's (2011) words, a ge neralized willingness to trust is analogous to which an individual's altruistic act ion is returned after a temporal delay, is essential for the development of trust among persons. The reasons why an individual might choose to run the risk of non reciprocation are countless and lie well beyond the
15 scope of this research. Religious and spi ritual motivations, developing the reputation of being cooperative, and working towards larger exchange rewards in the future, for example, are all dimensions that constitute the extension of reciprocal altruism. As was stated previously, interpersonal t rust signifies a sense of likelihood of investment return. For the purposes of the present research, the type of investments examined are behavioral manifestations of actions that are beneficial to others, in other words, altruistic acts. In the present st udy, levels of altruism were measured using the Self Report Altruism scale (SRA; Rushton, Chrisjohn, & Fekken, 1981). The SRA relates trust to altruism by assessing the frequency of altruistic behaviors that are potentially trust building behavior as well. More importantly, a longer version of the SRA showed a positive correlation between scores on the extension and reciprocation indexes of altruistic behaviors ( Johnson, Danko, Darvill, Bochner, Bowers, Huang, Park, Pecjak, Rahim, & Pennington, 1989). The findings presented by Johnson et al. (1989) suggest that the SRA serves as a measure of reciprocal altruism, which is theoretically associated with trust. The Current Study The current study sought to examine relationships a mong alexithymia or diminished engagement with one's emotions, altruism, and generalized sense of trust, or interpersonal trust. Generalized mistrust has been shown to be positively associated with alexithymia and loneliness ( Qualter et al., 2009). Findings of Qualter et al., (2009) ma ke sense given that the profile of individuals with high levels of alexithymia includes characteristics such as low sociability and emotional detachment (Moormann et al., 2008). Additionally, judgments of trustworthiness are informed by
16 the judge's emotio nal states (Tankersley, 2008), suggesting that individuals with low levels of emotional awareness might have difficulties accurately assessing others' trustworthiness. In light of these findings, first hand interpersonal trust (FIT), a variable I created b y adding scores on the Interpersonal Exploitation (IE) and Reliable Role performance (RR) factors of the Interpersonal Trust Scale (ITS), is expected to be negatively associated with alexithymia, which was measured using the TAS 20. T he enactment of altr uistic acts indicate the presence of reciprocal altruism given that scores of given help correlate with scores of received help (Johnson et al., 1989) and reciprocal altruism serves as trust building behaviors (Rilling & Sanfey, 2011). Thus, high frequenci es of altruistic behavior, indicated by high scores on the Self Report Altruism scale (SRA), are expected to be related to high levels of first hand inter personal trust, indicated by low FIT scores. Even though both alexithymia and self reported altruis m are considered personality attributes, the predicted relationship between alexithymia and interpersonal trust is likely to be more basic than the predicted relationship between altruism and interpersonal trust. The reasoning behind this idea is that altr uism is potentially more contingent on influential external factors, such as religious affiliation, community norms, etc, given that the multiplicity of these characteristics is likely to create more varied influences on trust. Thus, a multiple regression analysis was conducted in order to test the prediction that a higher amount of variance in FIT scores would be predicted by TAS 20 scores than by SRA scores.
17 Method Participants A total of 61 participants, 40 females and 21 males, were recruited for th e study. Ages ranged from 18 23 years. Fifty eight of the participants were students from a small liberal arts college in Southwest Florida, one of the remaining three was an alumnus of the school, and the other two were friends of student participants. Da ta from six of the 61 participants were missing items; these were excluded when the statistical tests conducted involved incomplete variable scores Detection of outliers was conducted using a criterion of two standard deviations from the mean. Statistical results without outliers are presented for each test in the results section. Materials Alexithymia was measured using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS 20; Bagby et al., 1994). The TAS 20 indicates emotional awareness levels by measuring three distinc t factors: difficulty identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (DDF), and externally oriented thinking (EOT). The three factor structure of the scale was first validated using a sample of 965 college students ( Bagby et al. 1994) Particip ants indicated their level of agreement or disagreement with various statements by means of a Likert scale. The DIF factor was comprised of seve n items The DDF factor was comprised of five items and assessed difficulty describing feelings to others
18 EOT, on the other hand, was composed of eight items and measured the extent to which a person focuses on external details in life, ( p. 24 ). The following is an example of an EOT item, reliability, while the entire sca le showed excellent internal reliability. Test retest reliability was also confirmed. Generalized sense of trust was measured using a 15 item version of the Interpersonal Trust Scale (ITS; Rotter, 1967). The only variation of the 15 item ITS is that it e xcludes filler items; the scale has been shown to elicit the same results as the 40 item ITS across samples (Kumar, Lebo, & Gallagher, 1991). A Likert scale was used to assess participants' level of agreement or disagreement with each item. Response option items were reverse scored. Higher scores indicated lower interpersonal trust. The ITS has shown high internal consistency and test retest reliability, as well as good construct validity (R otter, 1967). However, counter to Rotter's (1967) suggestion that ITS measures a single attribute, Chun and Campbell (1974) showed that the ITS is actually composed of four different factors. Two of these factors were expected to be a better indication of interpersonal trust as potentially related to altruism and
19 represented by three items (Chun & Campbell, 1974). T he Self Report Altruism scale (SRA; Rushton et al., 1981) was used to indicate the frequency of altruistic acts performed by respondents. The scale was comprised of 20 items and also employed a Likert type scale. Responses were The following is an example of a SRA item altruism. In ternal reliability and inter rater reliability were high and convergent and discriminant validity were verified (Rushton et al., 1981). Additionally, the SRA was validated cross culturally by Johnson et al. (1989). Procedure Experimentation took place in various rooms located on the New College campus, all of which were quiet and free of distractions. Participants were first greeted by the principal investigator and then asked to read and sign the consent form for the study. Consent forms were stored sepa rate from the questionnaires and without any sort of order so as to protect participants' anonymity. Upon the acquisition of consent, participants were told they could stop taking the survey at any point without compromising their acquisition of compensati on for participating. Subsequently they were administered each questionnaire in a sequential order,
20 receiving each scale upon the completion of the previous one. While some participants completed the survey accompanied by the researcher only, most particip ants completed the questionnaire in small groups (of approximately 3 5 participants); the biggest group size was ten participants. Participants were asked to sit with enough space between each other so as to protect the confidentiality of their responses. Upon the completion of the surveys participants were informed about the nature of the study, thanked and compensated for their participation with two cookies. Results Descriptive Statistics The overall mean of first hand interpersonal trust as scored by the sum of two factors in the Interpersonal Trust Scale was 3.44, with a standard deviation of 0.52 and lowest score of 1.67 and highest score of 4.67 The overall mean of interpersonal trust as scored by the Interpersonal Trust Scale was 3.37 with a stan dard deviation of 0.37 and lowest score of 2.38 and highest score of 4.00 The overall mean of alexithymia as scored by the Toronto Alexithymia Scale was 2.20 with a standard deviation of 0. 51 and lowest score of 1.20 and highest score of 3.45 The overall mean of altruism as scored Self Report Altruism Scale was 2.87 with a standard deviation of 0.49 and lowest score of 2.00 and highest score of 4.55. Correlation and Regression Analyses C orrelation and r egression analyses were conducted in order to test t he hypotheses advanced in this study. The relationship between ITS total scores and TAS 20 and SRA scores was also examined. Results obtained after excluding outliers are reported as well. Participants were classified as outliers and excluded from
21 analyses if they scored two standard deviations above or below the group mean of the variable in question. Finally, correlation tests conducted to examine the relationship between the TAS 20 subcomponents and FIT scores are reported. First hand Interpersonal Trus t and Alexithymia One of the predictions for this study was that high scores on the TAS 20, indicating low emotional awareness, would be associated with high FIT composite scores, indicating low interpersonal trust. This hypothesis did not show statistica l significance, r (57) = .161, p = .225. The exclusion of outliers for this test lead to similar results, r (54) = .084, p = .540. First hand Interpersonal Trust and Self report Altruism The second hypothesis of this research predicted that high FIT compo site scores, indicating low inter personal trust, would be correlated with low SRA scores, indicating low frequencies of altruistic behaviors. This hypothesis was not confirmed, but the predicted negative relationship approached significance, r (54) = 0.25 8, p = 0.055. However, results were far from significance after excluding outliers, r (51) = 0.057, p = 0.688. This suggests that the outliers distorted the results, which shows that there was no relationship between first hand interpersonal trust and alt ruism. Inte rpersonal Trust and Alexithymia A Pearson correlation coefficient was also calculated to assess the relationship between ITS total scores and TAS 20 scores. In contrast to the nonsignificant relationship observed between FIT and TAS 20 scores ITS scores were shown to be positively correlated to TAS 20 scores r (56) = 0.304, p = 0.020. However, after excluding outliers the correlation was no longer significant, r (52) = 0.240, p = 0.081.
22 Again, this shows that the outliers distorted the results, suggesting there was no relationship between interpersonal trust and alexithymia. Interpersonal Trust and Self report Altruism The relationship between ITS and SRA total scores was also tested. Results failed to show significant negative correlation b etween the two factors, r (53) = 0.224, p = 0.100. Exclusion of outliers confirmed the lack of effect, r (51) = 0.001, p = 0.994. First hand Interpersonal Trust, Alexithymia, and Self report Altruism A multiple regression analysis was conducted in order t o examine the extent to which TAS 20 and SRA scores predicted FIT scores. Outliers were excluded for this analysis. Results showed that neither the TAS 20, F (1, 50 ) = 0.09 p = 0.762 nor the SRA, F (1, 50) = 0.10 p = 0.752 significantly predicted the FIT scores. Interpersonal Trust, Alexithymia, and Self report Altruism Another multiple regression was conducted in order to examine the extent to which TAS 20 and SRA scores predicted ITS scores. Outliers were excluded for this analysis as well. Results sh owed that TAS 20 scores did not predict ITS scores, F (1, 51 ) = 2.00 p = 0.163. Scores on the SRA also failed to predict ITS scores F (1, 51 ) = 0.00 p = 0.946 First hand Interpersonal Trust and Alexithymia Factors Pearson correlation coefficients were c alculated for the relationships among FIT scores and each subcomponent of the TAS 20 (DIF, DDF, and EOT). Outliers were also excluded from these analyses. Only EOT was shown to be positively
23 correlated to FIT scores r (52) = 0.273, p = 0.046. Results from the other two tests are presented in Table 1. Discussion This study sought to examine relationships among alexithymia, altruism, and generalized trust. Alexithymia, an indication of the inability to identify, symbolize, and value emotional experiences, w as predicted to be negatively related to generalized trust, which was measured using added scores of two factors present in a altruism exhibited by participants were expecte d to be positively related to FIT. Lastly, alexithymia was expected to account for more variance in FIT scores than altruism. First hand Interpersonal Trust and Alexithymia It was hypothesized that a negative correlation between alexithymia and first han d interpersonal trust would be exhibited. This hypothesis was not confirmed. The results obtained from this test are not in agreement with those of Qualter et al. (2009). Their research showed that high alexithymia scores were associated with lower gener alized trust. A possible explanation for the difference between the findings is that the distrust scale used by Qualter et al. (2009) assesses trust by predominantly asking examining participants trust communicating their emotions to others. Given that ale xithymia measures difficulty identifying and describing emotions, their results are not surprising.
24 First hand Interpersonal Trust and Self report Altruism. The second hypothesis of this research predicted that high FIT composite scores, indicating low inter personal trust, would be correlated with low SRA scores, indicating low frequencies of altruistic behaviors. This hypothesis was not confirmed. To my knowledge, no other studies have examined the link between generalized trust and altruistic beha vior. This novel finding could be attributable to the relevancy of the SRA. As indicated by some of the participants, a few of the items in the scale were not relevant to their life experiences. One item stood out as particularly irrelevant, given the amou with a more recent and relevant altruism scale. Interpersonal Trust and Alexithymia. In contrast to the lack of connection between first hand interpersonal trust and alexithymia, interpersonal trust, as a whole, was shown to be positively correlated to alexithymia. This connection supported findings by Qualter et al. (2009), but also went beyond them since the ITS is a multid imensional scale that does not explicitly address trust communicating emotions to others. In fact, the ITS as a whole is predominantly composed of factors that deal with conceptions of one's social environment. However, the significance of this findings was attributable to an extreme score on the alexithymia scale. The participants' scores were above two standards deviations from the group mean, indicating an unusually high degree of alexithymia.
25 Interpersonal Trust and Self report Altruism. The relati onship between interpersonal trust and altruism was also tested. Results failed to show significant negative correl ation between the two factors. These findings are not surprising given that the ITS is composed of many items that are not directly related t o the type of trust that is developed strictly from reciprocal altruism. Future research should employ specific and generalized trust scales, as well as specific and generalized altruism scales in order to examine potential links. First hand Interpersonal Trust, Alexithymia, and Self report Altruism The hypothesis stating that first hand interpersonal trust would be predicted by alexithymia and altruism was not confirmed. These results are in accordance with the findings of this study that were previously discussed. Interpersonal Trust, Alexithymia, and Self report Altruism I nterpersonal trust was expected to be predictable on the basis of alexithymia and altruism. This hypothesis was not confirmed. N either alexithymia nor altruism served as predictors of interpersonal trust. These findings make sense given that first hand interpersonal trust, a variable composed of items that were more relevant to this study, also failed to show a relationship to alexithymia and altruism. It is possible these results ar e attributable to the relevancy of the scales for the student sample used in this study. Both scales were created before any of the participants in this study were born. It is possible that the wording of the items, as well as the content itself, is not su First hand Interpersonal Trust and Alexithymia Factors
26 Additional correlation tests were ran in order to examine which the relationship among the different subcomponents of alexithymia and first hand interperso nal trust. Only externally oriented thinking was found to be significantly correlated to first hand interpersonal trust. Externally oriented thinking, as a measure of the extent to which participants devalue affective states in their habitual thinking, is the component of alexithymia that is the least associated with the other components: difficulty identifying and describing feelings ( Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994). It is possible that a majority of the participants in this study consider themselves capabl e of contextualizing their levels of physiological arousal in a way that involves identification and description of such states. This sort of contextualizing is potentially distinct from the type of emotional engagement measured through the externally orie nted thinking factor of the alexithymia scale used in this research. Future research on alexithymia should consider the role of arousal and attributions to arousal. Conclu sion The results of this study indicate that individuals' tendency to value or deva lue emotional states is related to their levels of first hand trust in others, with people who give more importance to their emotions exhibiting higher levels of trust. These findings have implications for the study of social support systems. Personal obse rvations of items i n bookstores indicate that insights from psychological research on awareness of one's emotions have yet to permeate the notions of the general public; in my study, only one of the participants mentioned knowing what alexithymia was befor e participating. Whereas there are many books on increasing
27 one's productivity, competency, etc, to my knowledge not a single book written for the general public discussing research on alexithymia. Perhaps this is an indication of a n imbalance in what is p rioritized in our society. It is possible that a high demand for efficiency, an attribute that potentially requires the neglect of one's emotional states, contributes to the development of highly externally oriented thinking and with that, mistrust. The ro le that emotional engagement plays in facilitating the formation of desirable interpersonal bonds should be given more importance, given that many of the evaluations individuals make about others are automatic.
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32 Table 1 Correlations among Alexithymia subcomponents: Difficulty Identifying Feelings (DIF), Difficulty Describing Feelings ( DDF), Externally Oriented Thinking (EOT), and First hand Interpersonal Trust (FIT). Variable r p N DIF .012 .932 54 DDF .003 .984 53 EOT .273 .046 52
33 Appendix The scales used in this experiment are presented. The ITS and TAS 20 were printed in one double sided page each and the SRA was printed in a single one sided page. The formatting of the SRA was changed minimally so as to fit it within the margins of this document. Interpersonal Trust Scale (ITS; 1974) Directions: Indicate the d egree to which you agree or disagree with each statement by using the following scale: 1 = strongly agree 2 = mildly agree 3 = agree and disagree equally 4 = mildly disagree 5 = strongly disagree 1. Hypocrisy is on the increase in our society. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 2. In dealing with strangers one is better off to be cautious until they have provided evidence that they are trustworthy. Strongly Agree 1............2........... .3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 3. This country has a dark future unless we can attract better people into politics. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 4. Fear and social disgra ce or punishment rather than conscience prevents most people from breaking the law. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 5. Using the honor system of not having a teacher present during exams would prob ably result in increased cheating. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 6. Parents usually can be relied upon to keep their promises. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4......... ....5 Strongly Disagree
34 7. The United Nations will never be an effective force in keeping world peace. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 8. The judiciary is a place where we can all get unbiased t reatment. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 9. Most people would be horrified if they knew how much news that the public hears and sees is distorted. Strongly Agree 1............2............3...... ........4.............5 Strongly Disagree 10. It is safe to believe that in spite of what people say, most people are primarily interested in their own welfare. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 11 Even though we have reports in newspapers, radio and television, it is hard to get objective accounts of public events. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 12. The future seems very promising. Stron gly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 13. If we really knew what was going on in international politics, the public would have more reason to be frightened than they now seem to be. Strongly Agree 1......... ...2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 14. Most elected public officials are really sincere in their campaign promises. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 15. Many majo r national sport contests are fixed in one way or another. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 16. Most experts can be relied upon to carry out their threats of punishment. Strongly Agree 1........... .2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 17. Most parents can be relied upon to carry out their threats of punishment. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 18. Most people can be counted on to do what they say they will do. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 19. In these competitive times one has to be alert or someone is likely to take advantage of you. Strongly Agree 1..... .......2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree
35 20. Most idealists are sincere and usually practice what they preach. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 21. Most salesmen are ho nest in describing their products. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 22. Most students in school would not cheat even if they were sure of getting away with it. Strongly Agree 1............2........ ....3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 23. Most repairmen will not overcharge even if they think you are ignorant of their speciality. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 24. A large share of accident claims filed against insurance companies are phony. Strongly Agree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree 25. Most people answer public opinion polls honestly. Strongly Agree 1............2......... ...3..............4.............5 Strongly Disagree Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS 20; 1994) Directions : mark any single number that represents your level of Disagreement or Agreement with each statement. 1. I am often confused about what emotion I am feeling. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 2. It is difficult for me to find the right words for my feelings. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Ag ree Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 4. I am able to describe my feelings easily. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3. .............4.............5 Strongly Agree 5. I prefer to analyze problems rather than just describe them. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree ed, or angry. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree
36 7. I am often puzzled by sensations in my body. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 8. I prefe r to just let things happen rather than to understand why they turned out that way. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree Strongly Disagree 1............ 2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 10. Being in touch with emotions is essential. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 11. I find it hard to describe how 1 feel about people. S trongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 12. People tell me to describe my feelings more. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree going on inside me. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 15. I prefer talking to people about their daily activities rather than their feelings. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree Stro ngly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 17. It is difficult for me to reveal my innermost feelings. even to close friends. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongl y Agree 18. I can feel close to someone, even in moments of silence. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 19. I find examination of my feelings useful in solving personal problems. Strongly Disagree 1 ............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree 20. Looking for hidden meanings in movies or plays distracts from their enjoyment. Strongly Disagree 1............2............3..............4.............5 Strongly Agree
37 The Self Report Altruism Scale (SRA; 1981) Instructions : Tick the category on the right that conforms to the frequency with which you have carried out the following acts. Never Once More than Once Often Very Often 1. I have helped push a stranger's c ar out of the snow. 2. I have given directions to a stranger. 3. I have made change for a stranger. 4. I have given money to a charity. 5. I have given money to a stranger who needed it (or asked me for it). 6. I hav e donated goods or clothes to a charity. 7. I have done volunteer work for a charity. 8. I have donated blood. 9. I have helped carry a stranger's belongings (books, parcels, etc.). 10. I have delayed an elevator and held t he door open for a stranger. 11. I have allowed someone to go ahead of me in a lineup (at Xerox machine, in the supermarket). 12. I have given a stranger a lift in my car. 13. l have pointed out a clerk's error (in a bank, at the supermarket) in undercharging me for an item. 14. I have let a neighbour whom I didn't know too well borrow an item of some value to me (e.g., a dish, tools, etc.). 15. I have bought 'charity' Christmas cards deliberately because I knew it was a good cause. 16. I have helped a classmate who I did not know that well with a homework assignment when my knowledge was greater
38 than his or hers. 17. I have before being asked, voluntarily looked after a neighbor's pets or child ren without being paid for it. 18. I have offered to help a handicapped or elderly stranger across a street. 19. I have offered my seat on a bus or train to a stranger who was standing. 20. I have helped an acquaintance to move hous eholds.
39 Footnotes 1 complaints for which the patient has sought medical treatment over several years without any organic or physiological basis for the