Sex Differences in Emotion Recognition and Emotional Inferencing Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Barbra Zupan, Duncan Babbage, Dawn Neumann, Barry Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


The primary objective of the current study was to determine if men and women with traumatic brain injury (TBI) differ in their emotion recognition and emotional inferencing abilities. In addition to overall accuracy, we explored whether differences were contingent upon the target emotion for each task, or upon high- and low-intensity facial and vocal emotion expressions. A total of 160 participants (116 men) with severe TBI completed three tasks - a task measuring facial emotion recognition (DANVA-Faces), vocal emotion recognition (DANVA-Voices) and one measuring emotional inferencing (emotional inference from stories test (EIST)). Results showed that women with TBI were significantly more accurate in their recognition of vocal emotion expressions and also for emotional inferencing. Further analyses of task performance showed that women were significantly better than men at recognising fearful facial expressions and also facial emotion expressions high in intensity. Women also displayed increased response accuracy for sad vocal expressions and low-intensity vocal emotion expressions. Analysis of the EIST task showed that women were more accurate than men at emotional inferencing in sad and fearful stories. A similar proportion of women and men with TBI were impaired (≥ 2 SDs when compared to normative means) at facial emotion perception, χ2 = 1.45, p = 0.228, but a larger proportion of men was impaired at vocal emotion recognition, χ2 = 7.13, p = 0.008, and emotional inferencing, χ2 = 7.51, p = 0.006.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Impairment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Emotion recognition
  • emotional inferencing
  • sex
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing

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