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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 May;19(5):528-38. doi: 10.1017/S1355617713000039. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Assessing social cognition and pragmatic language in adolescents with traumatic brain injuries.

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School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Australia.


Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in children and adolescents can impair social cognition and communication skills but there are few assessment tools suitable for adolescents. The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT) uses professionally enacted audiovisual vignettes of everyday conversational exchanges and is a valid measure of social perception disorders in adults. This study examined its utility for assessing impairments in social cognition in a group of 16 adolescents with TBI, compared to a group of 16 typically developing (TD) adolescents. Adolescents with TBI were, on average, no different to their TD peers on TASIT 1 (emotion recognition) and TASIT 3 (recognizing lies and sarcasm when provided with additional cues) but performed more poorly on TASIT 2 which required them to interpret sarcastic and sincere conversational exchanges with few cues other than the demeanor of the speakers. Within the TBI group, poor performance on TASIT correlated to both relative and self-reported communication difficulties at home. It also correlated with IQ, face recognition and severity of injury as indexed by duration of post-traumatic amnesia. Overall, this study suggests TASIT is a valid measure for adolescents although it raised questions as to how effective normative data is for comparing performance in social cognition during childhood and adolescence.

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