Detecting social-cognitive deficits after traumatic brain injury: An ALE meta-analysis of fMRI studies

Hui Xiao, Andre Jacobsen, Ziqian Chen, Yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in significant social dysfunction, which is represented by impairment to social-cognitive abilities (i.e. social cognition, social attention/executive function and communication). This study is aimed to explore brain networks mediating the social dysfunction after TBI and its underlying mechanisms. Methods: We performed a quantitative meta-analysis using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) approach on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of social-cognitive abilities following TBI. Sixteen studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria resulting in a total of 190 patients with TBI and 206 controls enrolled in the ALE meta-analysis. Results: The temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) were the specific regions that social cognition predominantly engaged. The cingulate gyrus, frontal gyrus and inferior parietal lobule were the main regions related to social attention/executive functions. Communication dysfunction, especially related to language deficits, was found to show greater activation of the temporal gyrus and fusiform gyrus in TBI. Conclusion: The current ALE meta-analytic findings provide evidence that patients have significant social-cognitive disabilities following TBI. The relatively limited pool of literature and the varied fMRI results from published studies indicate that social-cognitive abilities following TBI is an area that would greatly benefit from further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1339
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 24 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • ALE meta-analysis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • functional MRI
  • social function
  • social-cognitive ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology

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