Relationship between individual differences in functional connectivity and facial-emotion recognition abilities in adults with traumatic brain injury
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Although several studies have demonstrated that facial-affect recognition impairment is common following moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), and that there are diffuse alterations in large-scale functional brain networks in TBI populations, little is known about the relationship between the two. Here, in a sample of 26 participants with TBI and 20 healthy comparison participants (HC) we measured facial-affect recognition abilities and resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) using fMRI. We then used network-based statistics to examine (A) the presence of rs-FC differences between individuals with TBI and HC within the facial-affect processing network, and (B) the association between inter-individual differences in emotion recognition skills and rs-FC within the facial-affect processing network. We found that participants with TBI showed significantly lower rs-FC in a component comprising homotopic and within-hemisphere, anterior-posterior connections within the facial-affect processing network. In addition, within the TBI group, participants with higher emotion-labeling skills showed stronger rs-FC within a network comprised of intra- and inter-hemispheric bilateral connections. Findings indicate that the ability to successfully recognize facial-affect after TBI is related to rs-FC within components of facial-affective networks, and provide new evidence that further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying emotion recognition impairment in TBI.
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