Blunting can mean to make or to be dull or less sharp. For
example, a pain medication can help with blunting cramps or
headache pain. Blunting is also a term often used in
Affect often refers to the outward way in which a person
shows his/her feelings or emotions. When someone has
blunting of affect (also known as blunted affect or affective
blunting), it means that there is a decrease in the intensity of
the expression of emotions compared to the level that one
would expect in reaction to a particular situation.
Blunting is sometimes characterized by minimally responding to one's surroundings, rarely
using expressive gestures, little animation in facial expression, decreased vocal
inflection, and a tendency to not care one way or the other about things. Blunted affect is
less severe than flat affect. In flat affect, there is no emotional expression (or almost
Blunting is typically seen as a result of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It
can also be caused by brain damage and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a type of
mental disorder in which one loses contact with reality. Blunting is the opposite of
overreaction, which is an increase in the intensity of the expression of emotions
compared to the level that one would expect as a reaction to a particular situation.
Blunting comes from the Old Norse word "blundra" meaning "dull."