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Brain Inj. 2002 Mar;16(3):245-57.

Altered electrodermal response to facial expression after closed head injury.

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  • 1Community Support and Research Unit, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The objective was to determine whether diffuse damage to orbital and ventromedial regions of the prefrontal cortex usually associated with moderate-to-severe closed head injury (CHI) would affect the ability to perceive and respond to socially relevant information.


Participants with CHI and age-matched non-injured controls were presented with faces that varied with respect to emotional expression while electrodermal activity (EDA) was monitored. Cognitive and general adaptive functioning was also assessed.


CHI was associated with a failure to increase EDA in response to negative facial expressions and with reduced ability to identify negative expressions, especially fear. The groups differed on other signs of orbital/medial prefrontal damage such as anosmia and in general social adaptability and awareness-of-deficit as measured by the Brock Adaptive Functioning Questionnaire.


CHI affected the ability to identify and respond to negative facial expression. Addressing these deficits may enhance rehabilitative efforts within the social domain.

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