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Is the desire for amputation related to disturbed emotion processing? A multiple case study analysis in BIID


Bottini, G; Brugger, P; Sedda, A (2015). Is the desire for amputation related to disturbed emotion processing? A multiple case study analysis in BIID. Neurocase, 21(3):394-402.

Abstract

Body integrity identity disorder (BIID) is characterized by the overwhelming desire to amputate one or more healthy limbs or to be paraplegic. Recently, a neurological explanation of this condition has been proposed, in part on the basis of findings that the insular cortex might present structural anomalies in these individuals. While these studies focused on body representation, much less is known about emotional processing. Importantly, emotional impairments have been found in psychiatric disorders, and a psychiatric etiology is still a valid alternative to purely neurological accounts of BIID. In this study, we explored, by means of a computerized experiment, facial emotion recognition and emotional responses to disgusting images in seven individuals with BIID, taking into account their clinical features and investigating in detail disgust processing, strongly linked to insular functioning. We demonstrate that BIID is not characterized by a general emotional impairment; rather, there is a selectively reduced disgust response to violations of the body envelope. Taken together, our results support the need to explore this condition under an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account also emotional connotations and the social modulation of body representation.

Abstract

Body integrity identity disorder (BIID) is characterized by the overwhelming desire to amputate one or more healthy limbs or to be paraplegic. Recently, a neurological explanation of this condition has been proposed, in part on the basis of findings that the insular cortex might present structural anomalies in these individuals. While these studies focused on body representation, much less is known about emotional processing. Importantly, emotional impairments have been found in psychiatric disorders, and a psychiatric etiology is still a valid alternative to purely neurological accounts of BIID. In this study, we explored, by means of a computerized experiment, facial emotion recognition and emotional responses to disgusting images in seven individuals with BIID, taking into account their clinical features and investigating in detail disgust processing, strongly linked to insular functioning. We demonstrate that BIID is not characterized by a general emotional impairment; rather, there is a selectively reduced disgust response to violations of the body envelope. Taken together, our results support the need to explore this condition under an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account also emotional connotations and the social modulation of body representation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:2015
Deposited On:21 Nov 2014 10:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:32
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN:1355-4794
Additional Information:This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Neurocase, 2014 copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:DOI: 10.1080/13554794.2014.902969
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13554794.2014.902969
PubMed ID:24679146

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