The relationship between facial affect recognition and cognitive functioning after traumatic brain injury

Jackki Yim, Duncan R. Babbage, Barbra Zupan, Dawn Neumann, Barry Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Primary objective: There is considerable evidence suggesting facial affect recognition and cognitive functions are impaired in many people with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, little is known about the relationship between these two domains in the TBI population. Research design: This study investigated the relationship between facial affect recognition and cognitive functioning in 75 adults with moderate-to-severe TBI. Methods and procedures: Participants were administered three facial affect recognition tests and a computerized cognitive test battery that assessed seven cognitive domains. Main outcomes and results: Deficits in facial affect recognition were significantly correlated with impairments in non-verbal memory, working memory, speed of processing, verbal memory and verbal delayed memory. No significant relationship was found between executive dysfunction and facial affect recognition impairments. Non-verbal memory, working memory and speed of processing significantly predicted overall facial affect recognition performance. Conclusions: It is concluded that impairment in several cognitive processes may contribute to facial affect recognition deficits in TBI, in particular non-verbal memory, working memory and speed of processing. Furthermore, executive functioning may not be a critical factor in facial affect recognition, but would most likely be important in deciding what to do once facial affect is perceived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1161
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013



  • Affect
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Emotion
  • Facial affect
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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