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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2017 Jan;23(1):65-77. doi: 10.1017/S1355617716001004. Epub 2016 Dec 15.

Sex-Related Differences in Emotion Recognition in Multi-concussed Athletes.

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1Département de psychologie,Université du Québec à Montréal,Montréal,Québec,Canada.
3Département de psychologie,Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières,Trois-Rivières,Québec,Canada.
4Département de psychoéducation et de psychologie,Université du Québec en Outaouais,Gatineau,Québec,Canada.
2Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal,Montréal,Québec,Canada.



Concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain. Although the cumulative and long-term effects of multiple concussions are now well documented on cognitive and motor function, little is known about their effects on emotion recognition. Recent studies have suggested that concussion can result in emotional sequelae, particularly in females and multi-concussed athletes. The objective of this study was to investigate sex-related differences in emotion recognition in asymptomatic male and female multi-concussed athletes.


We tested 28 control athletes (15 males) and 22 multi-concussed athletes (10 males) more than a year since the last concussion. Participants completed the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, a neuropsychological test battery and a morphed emotion recognition task. Pictures of a male face expressing basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise) morphed with another emotion were randomly presented. After each face presentation, participants were asked to indicate the emotion expressed by the face.


Results revealed significant sex by group interactions in accuracy and intensity threshold for negative emotions, together with significant main effects of emotion and group.


Male concussed athletes were significantly impaired in recognizing negative emotions and needed more emotional intensity to correctly identify these emotions, compared to same-sex controls. In contrast, female concussed athletes performed similarly to same-sex controls. These findings suggest that sex significantly modulates concussion effects on emotional facial expression recognition. (JINS, 2017, 23, 65-77).


Anxiety; Concussion; Depression; Emotional facial expression; Gender differences; Sport

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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