Relationship between individual differences in functional connectivity and facial emotion recognition abilities in traumatic brain injury

Arianna Rigon, Marshall University
M. W. Voss
L. S. Turkstra
B. Mutlu
M. C. Duff

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Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


Although several studies have demonstrated that facial-affect recognition impairment is common following moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), and that there are diffuse alterations in large-scale functional brain networks in TBI populations, little is known about the relationship between the two. Here, in a sample of26 participants with TBI and 20 healthy comparison participants (HC) we measured facial-affect recognition abilities and resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) using fMRI. We then used network-based statistics to ex-amine (A) the presence of rs-FC differences between individuals with TBI and HC within the facial-affect processing network, and (B) the association between inter-individual differences in emotion recognition skills and rs-FC within the facial-affect processing network. We found that participants with TBI showed significantly lower rs-FC in a component comprising homotopic and within-hemisphere, anterior-posterior connections with-in the facial-affect processing network. In addition, within the TBI group, participants with higher emotion-label-ing skills showed stronger rs-FC within a network comprised of intra- and inter-hemispheric bilateral connections. Findings indicate that the ability to successfully recognize facial-affect after TBI is related to rs-FC within components of facial-affective networks, and provide new evidence that further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying emotion recognition impairment in TBI.