Sunday, September 25, 2011

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Assessment of Social Cognition in TBI

An active area of test development and research in contemporary clinical neuropsychology:

Social Cognition Impairments in Relation to General Cognitive Deficits, Injury Severity and Prefrontal Lesions in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients.
Journal of Neurotrauma
. 2011 Sep 20;
Authors: Spikman JM, Van der Naalt J, Timmerman ME, Milders MV, Veenstra WS


Impairments in social behavior are frequently found in moderate to severe TBI patients and are associated with an unfavorable outcome with regard to return to work and social reintegration. Neuropsychological tests measuring aspects of social cognition are thought to be sensitive to these problems. However, little is known about the effect of general cognitive problems on these tests, nor about their sensitivity to injury severity and frontal lesions. In the present study 28 chronic TBI patients with a moderate to severe TBI were assessed with tests for social cognition (emotion recognition, Theory of Mind and empathy) and for general, non-social cognition (memory, mental speed, attention and executive function). The patients performed significantly worse than healthy controls on all measures, with the highest effect size for the emotion recognition test, the FEEST. Correlation analyses yielded no significant (partial) correlations between social and non-social cognition tests. Consequently, poor performance on social cognition tests was not due to general cognitive deficits. In addition, the emotion recognition test was the only measure that was significantly related to PTA duration, GCS score and presence of prefrontal lesions. Hence, we conclude that social cognition tests are a valuable supplement to a standard neuropsychological examination and we strongly recommend to incorporate measurement of social cognition in clinical practice. Preferably, a broader range of social cognition tests is applied since our study demonstrated that each of the measures represents a unique aspect of social cognition, but if capacity is limited, at least a test for emotion recognition should be included.

PMID: 21933011 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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