Research Reports - Emotional regulation impairments following severe traumatic brain injury: An investigation of the body and facial feedback effects

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Jan 28:1-13

Dethier M, Blairy S, Rosenberg H, McDonald S

The object of this study was to evaluate the combined effect of body and facial
feedback in adults who had suffered from a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) to
gain some understanding of their difficulties in the regulation of negative
emotions. Twenty-four participants with TBI and 28 control participants adopted
facial expressions and body postures according to specific instructions and
maintained these positions for 10 s. Expressions and postures entailed anger,
sadness, and happiness as well as a neutral (baseline) condition. After each
expression/posture manipulation, participants evaluated their subjective
emotional state (including cheerfulness, sadness, and irritation). TBI
participants were globally less responsive to the effects of body and facial
feedback than control participants, F(1,50) = 5.89, p = .02, η 2 = .11. More
interestingly, the TBI group differed from the Control group across emotions,
F(8,400) = 2.51, p = .01, η 2 = .05. Specifically, participants with TBI were
responsive to happy but not to negative expression/posture manipulations whereas
control participants were responsive to happy, angry, and sad expression/posture
manipulations. In conclusion, TBI appears to impair the ability to recognize both
the physical configuration of a negative emotion and its associated subjective
feeling.

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