Research Reports - Low self-awareness of individuals with severe traumatic brain injury can lead to reduced ability to take another person's perspective

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2013 Mar 21

Bivona U, Riccio A, Ciurli P, Carlesimo GA, Donne VD, Pizzonia E, Caltagirone C, Formisano R, Costa A

Aims of this study were (i) to verify whether a deficit or a lack of
self-awareness can lead to difficulties in assuming another person's perspective
after a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI); (ii) to verify whether
perspective-taking deficits emerge more from performance-based tasks than
self-reports; and (iii) to evaluate the possible relationships between
perspective-taking difficulties and some clinical, neuropsychological,
neuropsychiatric, and neuroimaging variables. The Interpersonal Reactivity Index,
Empathy Quotient, first-order false-belief, and faux pas written stories were
administered to 28 patients with severe TBI and 28 healthy controls. The
Awareness Questionnaire was also administered to TBI patients and their
caregivers. Patients were split into 2 groups (impaired self-awareness vs
adequate self-awareness) on the basis of the discrepancy Awareness Questionnaire
score. Both TBI groups obtained lower scores than healthy controls on the Fantasy
subscale of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the reality question of the
false-belief stories, and the memory questions of the faux pas test. Only
impaired self-awareness patients tended to obtain lower scores in first-order
false-belief detection. Impaired self-awareness patients also performed
significantly worse than both healthy controls and adequate self-awareness
patients on the faux pas tasks. The analysis suggests a causal relationship
between low self-awareness and perspective-taking difficulties in this population
of patients.

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