Blunted Affect

Affect is the outward expression of emotional cues including body language and facial expression. Blunted affect is a markedly diminished emotional expression.

What is Blunted Affect?

The characteristic trait of a blunted affect is not expressing feelings either verbally—by talking about emotional events in an emotive way—or nonverbally, by using emotional body language, facial expressions, or gestures. A person with blunted affect might give a detailed account of an emotionally charged memory but show no emotions. For example, a person recalling his or her father’s death might simply recount the factual details of the death but share no information about how she felt and give no indication that she has feelings about the incident.

Blunted Affect in Psychology

Blunted affect is a symptom, rather than a disease itself. Occasionally, blunted affect occurs for a brief period of time when a person simply does not wish to make himself vulnerable by expressing his feelings. But ongoing blunted affect can indicate a number of mental health conditions. Severely depressed people, for example, may show no feelings at all. Blunted affect is also common in people experiencing schizophrenia. Inappropriate affect ranging from blunted affect to excessively expressive behavior is a hallmark of schizophrenia. Severe stress, particularly resulting from traumatic events, may also cause blunted affect. People with posttraumatic stress might show signs of blunted affect.


  1. American Psychological Association. APA concise dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2009. Print.

Last Updated: 09-8-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • joy p.

    joy p.

    April 4th, 2017 at 12:29 AM

    I want to remember blunt affect

  • Sab


    July 22nd, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Is there a cure for blunt emotions? I dont feel sad i just feel nothing.

  • Laura


    October 12th, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    I am experiencing this and would like to know more

  • Steph


    March 14th, 2018 at 6:18 AM

    I wonder the same thing my dude, guess we’re stuck feelin empty. Least there’s marijuana stay tokin.

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