Overview of impaired facial affect recognition in persons with traumatic brain injury

Dawn Radice-Neumann, Barbra Zupan, Duncan R. Babbage, Barry Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

54 Scopus citations


Primary objective: To review the literature of affect recognition for persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is suggested that impairment of affect recognition could be a significant problem for the TBI population and treatment strategies are recommended based on research for persons with autism. Main outcomes and results: Research demonstrates that persons with TBI often have difficulty determining emotion from facial expressions. Studies show that poor interpersonal skills, which are associated with impaired affect recognition, are linked to a variety of negative outcomes. Theories suggest that facial affect recognition is achieved by interpreting important facial features and processing one's own emotions. These skills are often affected by TBI, depending on the areas damaged. Affect recognition impairments have also been identified in persons with autism. Successful interventions have already been developed for the autism population. Comparable neuroanatomical and behavioural findings between TBI and autism suggest that treatment approaches for autism may also benefit those with TBI. Conclusions: Impaired facial affect recognition appears to be a significant problem for persons with TBI. Theories of affect recognition, strategies used in autism and teaching techniques commonly used in TBI need to be considered when developing treatments to improve affect recognition in persons with brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-816
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injury
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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