Research Reports - Effects of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury on anticipating consequences of actions in adolescents

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Jan 14:1-10

Cook LG, Hanten G, Orsten KD, Chapman SB, Li X, Wilde EA, Schnelle KP, Levin HS

For this pilot study, we compared performance of 15 adolescents with
moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) to that of 13 typically developing
(TD) adolescents in predicting social actions and consequences for avatars in a
virtual microworld environment faced with dilemmas involving legal or moral
infractions. Performance was analyzed in relation to cortical thickness in brain
regions implicated in social cognition. Groups did not differ in number of
actions predicted nor in reasons cited for predictions when presented only the
conflict situation. After viewing the entire scenario, including the choice made
by the avatar, TD and TBI adolescents provided similar numbers of short-term
consequences. However, TD adolescents provided significantly more long-term
consequences (p = .010). Additionally, for the Overall qualitative score, TD
adolescents' responses were more likely to reflect the long-term impact of the
decision made (p = .053). Groups differed in relation of the Overall measure to
thickness of right medial prefrontal cortex/frontal pole and precuneus, with
stronger relations for the TD group (p < .01). For long-term consequences, the
relations to the posterior cingulate, superior medial frontal, and precentral
regions, and to a lesser extent, the middle temporal region, were stronger for
the TBI group (p < .01).

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