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Affect Recognition: Enhancing Performance of Persons With Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00283153
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 27, 2006
Last Update Posted : August 4, 2014
U.S. Department of Education
Massey University
Atrium Health
Brock University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Barry Willer, University at Buffalo

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of three training programs designed to teach persons with acquired brain injury (ABI) to recognize emotions. It is hypothesized that the training programs will enhance several aspects of emotion recognition in persons with ABI. Furthermore, it is expected that these effects will be maintained over time, and will positively influence participants' social behavior and integration.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Acquired Brain Injury (Including Stroke) Behavioral: Facial Affect Recognition Training Other: Stories of Emotional Inference Phase 2 Phase 3

Detailed Description:

Research has demonstrated that persons with acquired brain injury (ABI) often have difficulty recognizing emotions. This includes emotions portrayed in facial expressions, as well as inferring emotions based on social context. The ability to identify emotions in others is an essential component for the engagement of successful social interactions. It has been suggested that a decreased ability to recognize emotions may result in inappropriate behaviors and have a detrimental impact on social relationships. Despite the significance of this problem, very few studies have addressed this need in the ABI population.

Comparisons: Three groups receiving computer-based training programs. Two of the groups are trained to learn how to identify emotions of happy, sad, angry and fearful. The third training experience presents participants with a variety of learning tasks from managing money to grocery shopping.

  1. Facial Affect Recognition (FAR) group: This group is shown faces on the computer and asked to identify the emotion being expressed. Subjects are also asked to describe situations that they associate with the emotions being trained, as well as mimic facial expressions in a mirror.
  2. Stories of Emotional Inference (SEI) group: This group is asked to read stories on the computer that describe the interaction of events with characters' beliefs, wants and behaviors. From this information, subjects are asked to infer the emotions of the characters throughout the stories.
  3. Cognitive Training Group (CTG): This group is given educational experiences in a variety of life skill areas including banking and applying for a job. This training is aimed at resolving some of the frustrations experienced by persons with ABI. Subjects may learn various computer skills including, Word, Excel, Internet Search or Games.

Before and after training, emotion recognition will be measured with pictures of faces; vocal recordings; stories that give the contextual cues to emotion; and hypothetical situations. In addition, participants' cognitive skills, social behavior and integration will also be assessed.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 71 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Controlled Study of Affect Recognition Training for Individuals With Acquired Brain Injury
Study Start Date : October 2008
Actual Primary Completion Date : September 2012
Actual Study Completion Date : August 2014

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: FAR
Facial affect recognition training (with computer assistance)
Behavioral: Facial Affect Recognition Training
A series of pictures of faces displaying various emotions are presented one at a time using a computerized training program.Participants are taught to recognize how emotions affect facial features such as the mouth and eyes.Participants are also taught how to recognize their own emotions.

Experimental: SEI
Stories of Emotional Inference
Other: Stories of Emotional Inference
Participants are presented with a series of short stories one at a time. Each story presents various contextual cues regarding the emotions the characters are likely to experience. Participants learn to connect the cues to specific emotions.
Other Name: Cognitive intervention

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Diagnostic Assessment of Nonverbal Affect-Adult Faces (DANVA2-AF) [ Time Frame: Seven months ]
  2. Emotional Inference From Stories Test [ Time Frame: Seven months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Interpersonal Reactivity Index [ Time Frame: Seven Months ]
  2. Neuropsychiatric Inventory [ Time Frame: Seven Months ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age between eighteen and sixty-five years old.
  • At minimum, one year post-injury.
  • Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) of 12 or less, or stroke with hemi-paresis signifying a moderate to severe acquired brain injury.
  • A TBI that resulted in either a closed or open head injury or a stroke that resulted in severe disability
  • Perform at least one standard deviation below the norm on the DANVA2-Adult Faces test, a standardized assessment of facial affect recognition.
  • Verbally able to express a basic understanding of emotional descriptors (e.g. Happy, sad, angry, fearful).
  • Demonstrate basic comprehension for short paragraphs presented in 2 ways: 1)auditorily and 2)silent reading. This measure is part of the Discourse Comprehension Test.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosed mental illness.
  • Uncorrected visual acuity.
  • Uncorrected hearing impairment.
  • Perceptual impairment (visual neglect and/or visual discrimination).
  • Impaired verbal expression/ aphasia
  • Alcohol or substance abuse.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00283153

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United States, New York
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York, United States, 14215
United States, North Carolina
Carolinas HealthCare System
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, 28203
Canada, Ontario
Brock University
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
New Zealand
Massey University
Wellington, New Zealand
Sponsors and Collaborators
University at Buffalo
U.S. Department of Education
Massey University
Atrium Health
Brock University
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Principal Investigator: Barry Willer, Ph.D. University at Buffalo, Department of Psychiatry

Publications of Results:
Other Publications:
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Responsible Party: Barry Willer, Professor, University at Buffalo Identifier: NCT00283153     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: DR-050573-BW-2300
NIDRR H133G080043A
First Posted: January 27, 2006    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 4, 2014
Last Verified: August 2014

Keywords provided by Barry Willer, University at Buffalo:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Emotion Recognition

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Brain Injuries
Wounds and Injuries
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Craniocerebral Trauma
Trauma, Nervous System