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Brain Inj. 2017;31(2):221-229. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2016.1208846. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Emotional recognition from dynamic facial, vocal and musical expressions following traumatic brain injury.

Drapeau J1,2,3,4, Gosselin N2,3,4, Peretz I3,4, McKerral M1,2,4.

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a Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation (CRIR) - Centre de réadaptation Lucie-Bruneau (CRLB).
b Centre de recherche en neuropsychologie et cognition (CERNEC).
c Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music (CRBLM) and International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS).
d Département de psychologie , Université de Montréal , Montréal , Québec , Canada.



To assess emotion recognition from dynamic facial, vocal and musical expressions in sub-groups of adults with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) of different severities and identify possible common underlying mechanisms across domains.


Forty-one adults participated in this study: 10 with moderate-severe TBI, nine with complicated mild TBI, 11 with uncomplicated mild TBI and 11 healthy controls, who were administered experimental (emotional recognition, valence-arousal) and control tasks (emotional and structural discrimination) for each domain.


Recognition of fearful faces was significantly impaired in moderate-severe and in complicated mild TBI sub-groups, as compared to those with uncomplicated mild TBI and controls. Effect sizes were medium-large. Participants with lower GCS scores performed more poorly when recognizing fearful dynamic facial expressions. Emotion recognition from auditory domains was preserved following TBI, irrespective of severity. All groups performed equally on control tasks, indicating no perceptual disorders. Although emotional recognition from vocal and musical expressions was preserved, no correlation was found across auditory domains.


This preliminary study may contribute to improving comprehension of emotional recognition following TBI. Future studies of larger samples could usefully include measures of functional impacts of recognition deficits for fearful facial expressions. These could help refine interventions for emotional recognition following a brain injury.


Traumatic brain injury; complicated mild; emotions; faces; mild; moderate; music; non-linguistic vocalizations; severe

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