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Emotions during reminiscence : researching the use of personal pronouns during the recall of sad memories in relation to the degree of alexithymia

Kettendörfer, S. (2014) Emotions during reminiscence : researching the use of personal pronouns during the recall of sad memories in relation to the degree of alexithymia.

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Abstract:Introduction: How people express their emotions when they talk about negative experiences has taken on a more prominent role in the field of psychology. Personal pronouns are one of the linguistic aspects which characterize a person’s speech. It has been found that the use of personal pronouns is related to a person’s psychological state, cognitive processes and inner emotions. The concept of alexithymia is associated with difficulties to express these inner emotions in words. Therefore, this study investigates how the use of personal pronouns is related to the degree of alexithymia during the reminiscence of sad memories. Method: The participants are students from the University of Twente and the Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede. The 20-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) was administered and the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2007 (LIWC) software was used. 35 participants between the ages of 18 and 39 filled out the TAS-20 questionnaire, recalled 8 memories involving emotional content and gave 3 neutral descriptions (control condition). The nonparametric Wilcoxon signed ranks test and a one factor repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) have been applied to analyze the implemented hypotheses. Results: The average alexithymia score was 48.03 with a standard deviation (SD) of 8.78. The number of the first person pronouns “I” and “We” as well as the number of the third person pronouns significantly differed between the sad memories and the control condition. The number of the second person pronoun “You” did not significantly differ between the sad memories and the control condition. No interaction effects between the degree of alexithymia and the use of the different types of personal pronouns were found. Discussion/Conclusion: The first person pronoun “I” and the third person pronouns played an important role when people were talking about sad memories. The first person pronoun “We” was used more often during neutral descriptions than during the recall of sad memories. People used the second person pronoun “You” to an equal amount when they recalled sad memories and when they gave neutral descriptions. Furthermore, the degree of alexithymia was not related to the use of the first, second and third person pronouns during the reminiscence of sad memories.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/65745
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