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Emotion Recognition Impairment in Traumatic Brain Injury Compared With Schizophrenia Spectrum

Similar Deficits With Different Origins

Mancuso, Mauro MD*; Magnani, Nadia MD; Cantagallo, Anna MD‡§; Rossi, Giulia MRS-SP*; Capitani, Donatella MStat; Galletti, Vania MD; Cardamone, Giuseppe MD; Robertson, Ian Hamilton PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2015 - Volume 203 - Issue 2 - p 87–95
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000245
Original Articles

The aim of our study was to identify the common and separate mechanisms that might underpin emotion recognition impairment in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and schizophrenia (Sz) compared with healthy controls (HCs). We recruited 21 Sz outpatients, 24 severe TBI outpatients, and 38 HCs, and we used eye-tracking to compare facial emotion processing performance. Both Sz and TBI patients were significantly poorer at recognizing facial emotions compared with HC. Sz patients showed a different way of exploring the Pictures of Facial Affects stimuli and were significantly worse in recognition of neutral expressions. Selective or sustained attention deficits in TBI may reduce efficient emotion recognition, whereas in Sz, there is a more strategic deficit underlying the observed problem. There would seem to be scope for adjustment of effective rehabilitative training focused on emotion recognition.

*Neurological Rehabilitation Unit and †Adult Mental Health Service, NHS, Grosseto; ‡BrainCare and §University of Padova, Padova; ∥Information Communication Technology, NHS, Grosseto, Italy; and ¶School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Send reprint requests to Mauro Mancuso, MD, Via Scansanese no. 365, Grosseto 58100, Italy. E-mail:

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