Facial emotion recognition of older adults with traumatic brain injury
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OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to examine the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and age on facial emotion recognition abilities in adults. Age and TBI were expected to have negative effects on emotion recognition and a TBI by age interaction was hypothesized such that older adults with TBI would have the lowest emotion recognition scores. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was conducted. Participants were 26 adults with moderate-severe TBI (13 older and 13 younger) and 26 uninjured peers matched for age, sex, and education. Emotion recognition was measured using the Emotion Recognition Task, which is comprised of dynamically morphed facial expressions of the six basic emotions, presented at different intensity levels. RESULTS: TBI and older age were associated with poorer recognition of both subtle and intense expressions, but only for expressions of anger and sadness. There was no interaction of age and TBI. CONCLUSIONS: Results add to the growing evidence of emotion recognition impairments after TBI, particularly for select negative emotions, and extend this finding to adults over the age of 60. Further research is needed to better understand social cognitive effects of TBI across the adult lifespan.
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