Research Reports - The relationship between facial affect recognition and cognitive functioning after traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2013 Jul 29

Yim J, Babbage DR, Zupan B, Neumann D, Willer B

Abstract Primary objective: There is considerable evidence suggesting facial
affect recognition and cognitive functions are impaired in many people with
moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, little is known about
the relationship between these two domains in the TBI population. Research
design: This study investigated the relationship between facial affect
recognition and cognitive functioning in 75 adults with moderate-to-severe TBI.
Methods and procedures: Participants were administered three facial affect
recognition tests and a computerized cognitive test battery that assessed seven
cognitive domains. Main outcomes and results: Deficits in facial affect
recognition were significantly correlated with impairments in non-verbal memory,
working memory, speed of processing, verbal memory and verbal delayed memory. No
significant relationship was found between executive dysfunction and facial
affect recognition impairments. Non-verbal memory, working memory and speed of
processing significantly predicted overall facial affect recognition performance.
Conclusions: It is concluded that impairment in several cognitive processes may
contribute to facial affect recognition deficits in TBI, in particular non-verbal
memory, working memory and speed of processing. Furthermore, executive
functioning may not be a critical factor in facial affect recognition, but would
most likely be important in deciding what to do once facial affect is perceived.

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