Unlocking the Mysteries of Alexithymia and Schizotypy: A Journey Through Evolutionary Psychology

Jay Getten | Oct 2, 2023 | 3 min read

Unlocking Alexithymia: The Enigma of Emotion

Alexithymia, a term that may seem complex, is fundamentally about difficulties in understanding and expressing emotions. Studies indicate a higher prevalence of alexithymia among neurodiverse populations, including those with ADHD and ASD. But why has such a trait persisted throughout human evolution?

Emotional Regulation in High-Stress Environments

Our early human ancestors faced a plethora of challenges, from predators to resource scarcity. In such high-stress environments, emotional disconnect might have served as a coping mechanism, allowing for pragmatic decision-making.

Social Cohesion: A Double-Edged Sword

While it may seem counterintuitive, emotional disconnect could have reduced conflict within communities, enhancing cooperation and ultimately aiding in survival.

Specialized Roles and Evolutionary Trade-offs

Individuals with alexithymia could have thrived in specialized roles that required focus but were emotionally taxing. Like all traits preserved through natural selection, alexithymia involves trade-offs, balancing challenges in emotional connectivity with advantages in decision-making and conflict avoidance.

Collective Survival: The Neurodiversity Advantage

If neurodiversity contributes to collective intelligence, having a percentage of individuals with alexithymic traits could enhance a group's adaptability, adding another layer of adaptive behavior.

Schizotypy: Unconventional Traits in a Prehistoric World

Schizotypy refers to a set of personality traits resembling attenuated symptoms of schizophrenia. How could these unconventional traits have been advantageous in our ancient past?

Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving

Traits associated with schizotypy, such as enhanced creativity, could have led to innovative survival solutions.

Heightened Sensory Perception

Being more attuned to environmental cues could have been beneficial in hunting and gathering scenarios.

Spiritual and Supernatural Insights

Individuals with schizotypal traits might have served as spiritual leaders, fostering social cohesion, and providing emotional support.

Constant Environmental Assessment

Paranoid tendencies could have been beneficial in continuously assessing environmental risks, making the group more prepared for potential threats.


The traits of alexithymia and schizotypy, often associated with neurodiversity, might have deep roots in our evolutionary history. While they come with challenges, these traits could have been essential for our ancestors' survival. Embracing neurodiversity is a step toward a more inclusive society.

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