Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Critical Review

Emotion perception deficits following traumatic brain injury: A review of the evidence and rationale for intervention

CRISTINA BORNHOFENa1 c1 and SKYE MCDONALDa1

a1 School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Abstract

While the cognitive disturbances that frequently follow severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are relatively well understood, the ways in which these affect the psychosocial functioning of people with TBI are yet to be determined and have thus received little attention in treatment research. Growing evidence indicates that a significant proportion of individuals with TBI demonstrate an inability to recognize affective information from the face, voice, bodily movement, and posture. Because accurate interpretation of emotion in others is critical for the successful negotiation of social interactions, effective treatments are necessary. Until recently, however, there have been no rehabilitation efforts in this area. The present review examines the literature on emotion perception deficits in TBI and presents a theoretical rationale for targeted intervention. Several lines of research relevant to the remediation of emotion perception in people with TBI are considered. These include work on emotion perception remediation with other cognitively impaired populations, current neuropsychological models of emotion perception and underlying neural systems, and recent conceptualizations of remediation processes. The article concludes with a discussion of the importance of carrying out efforts to improve emotion perception within a contextualized framework in which the day-to-day relevance of training is clear to all recipients. (JINS, 2008, 14, 511–525.)

(Received August 22 2007)

(Revised February 25 2008)

(Accepted February 26 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Cristina Bornhofen, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia. E-mail: cristinab@iinet.net.au