Effect of Attachment and Personality Styles on the Ability to Interpret Emotional Vocal Expressions: A Cross-sectional Study

Anna Esposito1, 2
, Alda Troncone1, *

1 Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Caserta, Italy
2 International Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies (IIASS), Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Italy

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© 2020 Esposito and Troncone.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Caserta, Italy; Tel: +39 0823 274768; E-mail:



Taking attachment as its theoretical reference, the post-rationalist approach within cognitive theory has outlined two basic categories of the regulation of cognitive and emotional processes: the outward and inward personality orientations. Research on the role of attachment style in individuals’ ability to decode emotions has never considered inward and outward orientations.


This cross-sectional study was conducted to compare individuals with different attachment styles and different inward/outward personality organizations on their ability to decode vocal emotions.


After being assessed for attachment and personality styles, a sample of university students performed an emotional-decoding task, and their accuracy (Study 1) and reaction time (Study 2) was measured. Gender effects were also examined.


No significant differences in emotion decoding accuracy emerged among individuals with either secure or insecure attachment styles and either inward or outward personality orientations. Both secure and inward individuals were significantly faster than insecure and outward ones in decoding vocal expressions of joy, whereas securely attached individuals were faster than insecure ones in decoding vocal expressions of anger.


Considering that the recognition of emotion falls within the basic skills upon which typical social interactions are based, the findings can be useful to enhance the comprehension of personality-related factors involved in the context of daily social interactions.

Keywords: Attachment styles, Personality styles, Inward and outward orientations, Vocal emotions, Reaction time, Emotions recognition.