Monday, November 23, 2009

The borderline personality paradox - perception and performance in relationships

People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can often have very unstable personal relationships. They have a great fear of abandonment and often perceive people in very black and white terms as either wholly good or wholly bad. However, past research has found that people with BPD can be very perceptive about working out other people's emotions. Researchers from Columbia University in New York, New York University and the City University of New York studied 55 people, 30 of them with BPD comparing their abilities on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test which asks people to judge emotions based solely on pictures of people's eyes. The group with BPD performed significantly better. The researchers thought that people with BPD go into situations expecting to be hurt, abandoned and rejected by others and that their extra sensitivity to emotions makes them pick up on signs that confirm these thoughts which other people might miss out on completely.

Fertuck, E. A. ... [et al] - Enhanced 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' in borderline personality disorder compared to healthy controls Psychological Medicine December 2009, 39(12), 1979-1988

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