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May 1969

Speech and Physiological Correlates of "Flat" Affect

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis
From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School, and Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute (Drs. Rice and Abroms), and the Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin (Dr. Saxman), Madison, Wis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(5):566-572. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740170070010

ALTHOUGH delineation of affect states is an important factor in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric problems, little empirical work has been done with the correlates of such states. Two important questions for investigation would appear to be: (1) What happens to the speech pattern during different affective states? and (2) What are the autonomic and skeletal correlates of such states? The present study will attempt to answer the above questions for a specific emotional state: that of "flat" affect.

It is common clinical practice to differentiate affect states during psychiatric examination, yet there are few textbook guidelines for such differentiation. Depression and elation are more frequently discussed and more easily recognized clinically. But one looks in vain for clinical descriptions of what is variously termed "flat," "shallow," or "blunted" affect. This deficiency is surprising in view of the fact that "flat" affect is seen in such a variety

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