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Neurobiological mechanisms underlying affect recognition deficits after brain injury March 26th, 2013

Dawn Neumann, PhD (PI), Wang Yang, PhD, Brenna McDonald, PhD, Arlene Schmid, PhD.  Indiana University Collaborative Research Grants (IUCRG).

The ability to recognize how others feel (affect recognition) helps us to acknowledge and respond appropriately to the needs of others. Facial affect recognition is a complex process that relies on multiple processing strategies. Functional neuroimaging studies have been able to link different processing strategies to certain brain structures. Studies show that people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often have significant affect recognition impairments. Emotion recognition deficits have been associated with inappropriate behaviors, difficulty controlling one’s own emotions, and poor social outcomes. Negative social and emotional behaviors are among the most common and difficult problems to treat after a TBI. There is obviously a significant need to address affect recognition deficits with treatment after TBI. However, it is not fully understood scientifically or clinically why patients with TBI have trouble recognizing emotions from facial expressions. Therefore, in this multidisciplinary pilot project, the investigators will use advanced functional neuroimaging to better understand the underlying causes for these deficits in people with TBI. We will recruit the following 3 groups (10 per group, total =30): 1) TBI with facial affect recognition impairments; 2) TBI without facial affect recognition impairments; and 3) healthy controls. We will compare differences in brain activity and behavioral performance across the three groups during completion of several emotion recognition tasks. By comparing people with and without affect recognition deficits, we will be able to identify which facial affect processing strategies are impaired in people with TBI, which is ultimately crucial for developing effective treatment approaches.

 

Contact Person: Dori Smith at dojsmith@iupui.edu or 317-963-7515