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Emotional Recognition After a Traumatic Brain Injury: A Study

Home » Emotional Recognition After a Traumatic Brain Injury: A Study
September 09, 2019
Edward Smith

Emotional Recognition After a Traumatic Brain Injury: A Study

Recently, a research study was published demonstrating that emotional recognition issues following a traumatic brain injury can make it hard for someone to resume normal life as a member of their community. The brain is responsible for reading human eyes and facial expressions. When the brain is damaged following a serious accident, people can have issues recognizing these facial expressions. Therefore, people might not be able to accurately read how someone is feeling or understand expressions such as sarcasm. These issues can strain social relationships among family members and friends, making it difficult for someone to reintegrate as a member of their community. This research study will also impact how the treatment of a traumatic brain injury is performed. Doctors and head injury specialists will use this information to improve the prognosis of those who have suffered a head injury.

The Problem of Social Isolation After a TBI

Researchers tied to the Kessler Foundation have recently published a study in the Journal of International Neuropsychological Society. According to the researchers, individuals who have suffered a moderate or severe TBI have significant issues with social isolation. Those who are socially isolated have far worse treatment outcomes following a brain injury because this deprives the individual of social support during their recovery.

There are several ways that social isolation can manifest. This includes a lack of community integration, problems with other members of the home, and difficulty maintaining gainful employment. Even though social support has long been known to be an important factor in the recovery following a head or brain injury, the barriers to this social support have not been detailed. The goal of this research study was to analyze the barriers to social integration in an effort to change how traumatic brain injuries are treated.

The Study Design: Emotional Recognition

The researchers decided to study the importance of facial recognition following a TBI. The research study took two groups of about thirty people each. One group had suffered a moderate or severe brain injury. The other group was healthy and had not sustained a TBI. All of the members in each group completed a questionnaire that asked them about community integration. Each member of both groups also completed a test on the ability to recognize the emotions on people’s faces.

The results were interesting. There was a direct correlation between the scores on the community integration questionnaire and the score on the emotional recognition from facial features test. Those who had lower scores of community integration also had a lower score when it came to recognizing facial features. Those who had suffered a TBI performed worse on both tests. Therefore, the results of this study need to be incorporated into the treatment of head injuries.

Moving Forward: Changing the Way a Brain Injury is Treated

The results of this study have several implications for the treatment of brain injuries in the future. The findings of this study demonstrate that problems related to facial emotional recognition can contribute to the social isolation felt by individuals following a brain injury. This was reflected in the correlation between the tests described above. In order to improve community integration among people who have suffered a TBI, these deficits need to be addressed.

As a result, interventions need to be incorporated into the treatment of TBI that address these deficits. Rehabilitation programs need to be designed to help people recognize emotional features so that those who have suffered a TBI can pick up on unspoken cues. If individuals who have suffered a head injury are better able to recognize emotions from people’s faces, they will be able to reintegrate into their communities better. This will help them maintain relationships with family members and friends and might also help them get a job down the road. This targeted rehabilitation can improve the quality of life for not only individuals who have been diagnosed with a brain injury but also their caregivers.

San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a San Francisco brain injury lawyer. Emotional recognition issues following a traumatic brain injury can negatively impact social skills. If someone you care for has sustained a head or brain injury following a serious accident, please contact me at (415) 805-7284 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
In the state of California, I am an honored member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This is a group of injury lawyers which includes many of the top accident lawyers in the United States. Our members have earned case settlements & received trial verdicts valued at greater than $1 million.

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