Training Emotional Processing in Persons With Brain Injury

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AimsTo determine the effectiveness of 2 interventions for different aspects of emotion-processing deficits in adults with acquired brain injury (ABI).ParticipantsNineteen participants with ABI (minimum 1 year postinjury) from Western New York and Southern Ontario, Canada.Interventions(1) Emotion processing from faces (“facial affect recognition” or FAR) and (2) emotion processing from written context by using “stories of emotional inference” (SEI). Ten randomly assigned participants received the FAR intervention, and 9 received the SEI protocol. Both interventions were administered 1 hour per day, 3 times per week, and completed in 6 to 9 sessions, and both incorporated participants' personal emotional experiences into training.Outcome Measures(1) Facial affect, (2) vocal affect, (3) affect from videos, (4) emotional inference from context, and (5) emotional behavior. There were 2 pretests, a posttest, and a 2-week follow-up.ResultsFAR participants showed significantly improved emotion recognition from faces, ability to infer emotions from context, and socioemotional behavior, while the SEI group members exhibited significantly improved ability to infer how they would feel in a given context.ConclusionTraining can improve emotion perception in persons with ABI. Although further research is needed, the interventions are clinically practical and show promise for the population with ABI.

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