While traumatic brain injury experts have known for some time that a TBI can cause personality changes, a new study has revealed that brain injury patients exhibit a higher incidence of emotional processing problems than previously thought. This can make recovery even challenging while causing conflicts in the TBI victim’s relationships.
According to head injury specialist Professor Roger Woo and colleague Claire Williams, traumatic brain injury patients can exhibit a loss of emotional attachment with family and friends, which suggests a connection between empathy problems and traumatic brain injuries.
Per neurology literature, there are three broad categories for empathy:
Cognitive empathy: Allows the person to know what someone else is feeling Emotional empathy: Let’s someone feel what another is feeling Compassionate empathy: Enables the person to response to another person’s upset feelings with compassion
In the Wood and Williams study, TBI patients scored low on empathy tests-two times lower, as a matter of fact, than control subjects. TBI patients displayed an impaired ability to identify what people on video and in photographs were feeling. Williams and Wood also tested for alexithymia, a personality trait that makes it hard for a person to know/describe what he/she is feeling. 60% of TBI patients they tested compared to 11% of the control group exhibited this personality trait. One reason that emotional processing can become impaired when a person has a TBI is that the areas of the brain that control this type of activity are susceptible to damage.
Massachusetts Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits
In addition to wreaking havoc on the victim, a traumatic brain injury can also take a toll on family members and friends. You may be able to obtain Massachusetts injury recovery by filing a Boston traumatic brain injury lawsuit.
Traumatic Brain Injury leads to problems with emotional processing, Psychology Today, January 3, 2010
Impairment in the recognition of emotion across different media following traumatic brain injury, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Informaworld
Related Web Resources:
NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page
TBI, The Mayo Clinic