Emotion recognition and empathy after brain injury
Master of Arts
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Study participants: 20 brain-injured individuals from Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario (Control group: Lakehead University psychology undergrads.) Tests administered: Victoria Emotion Recognition Test (VERT), Hogan's Empathy Scale (EM), and, the Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy (QMEE).Impairments of social behavior after cerebral damage are common. Studies suggest that in some brain-injured individuals the fundamental mechanisms underlying emotion recognition (Braun, Denault, Cohen & Rouleau, 1994; Jackson & Moffat, 1987) and empathy (Eslinger, 1998; Grattan, Bloomer, Archambault & Eslinger, 1994) are disturbed. To our knowledge, there has been no published research on the interaction between emotion recognition and empathy in brain-injured groups. The present study investigated how impairment in the ability to recognize visual and verbal emotion covaries with the ability to empathize (cognitively and emotionally). Specifically, it was hypothesized that poor ability to recognize emotion would positively correlate with socially inadequate forms of empathy. A group of individuals with brain injury and a normal control group were administered the Victoria Emotion Recognition Test (VERT), Hogan’s Empathy Scale (EM) and the Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy (QMEE). Results indicate that overall, individuals with brain injury had lower scores on all subscales of the VERT as well as on the EM. No differences were found between groups on the QMEE. The scores for both groups were found to correlate positively between the EM and VERT as well as between the EM and QMEE.