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Recognizing Others' Emotions After TBI


Research Update: Recognizing Others' Emotions After TBI

A brief summary of current research.

Addressing deficits in emotion recognition after severe traumatic brain injury: The role of focused attention and mimicry

McDonald, S, Bornhofen, C, & Hunt, C. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, Vol 19(3) June 2009, pp 321 - 339.

Difficulty recognizing and understanding others’ emotions is common in people with severe TBI and is an important target for remediation. This study examined two intervention strategies: (1) focusing attention on relevant aspects of a facial expression, and (2) mimicking the facial expression. Interestingly, this study found the TBI group was not less successful than the control group when identifying emotions spontaneously. All people who were below average received training on the above strategies. People with TBI did not benefit from repeated exposure, regardless of the instructional strategy; however people without TBI did. The Mimic strategy resulted in little improvement in both groups and the Focus instruction actually resulted in poorer performance in the people with TBI group.

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