Detection of text-based social cues in adults with traumatic brain injury
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OBJECTIVES: Written text contains verbal immediacy cues-word form or grammatical cues that indicate positive attitude or liking towards an object, action, or person. We asked if adults with moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) would respond to these cues, given evidence of TBI-related social communication impairments. METHODS: Sixty-nine adults with TBI and 74 healthy comparison (HC) peers read pairs of sentences containing different types of immediacy cues (e.g., speaker A said "these Canadians" vs. B said "those Canadians.") and identified which speaker (A or B) had a more positive attitude towards the underlined entity (Task 1); and pairs of sentences comprised of a context sentence (e.g., Fred is asked, "Did you visit Joan and Sue?") and a statement sentence (Fred says, "I visited Sue and Joan.") and were asked to indicate how much Fred liked or disliked the underlined words (Task 2). RESULTS: HC group scores were significantly higher on Task 1, indicating more sensitivity to cues. On Task 2, TBI and HC group ratings differed across cue types and immediacy types, and the TBI group appeared to have less sensitivity to these cues. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that TBI-related impairments may reduce sensitivity to subtle social cues in text.
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