Relationship between social cognition and social behaviour following traumatic brain injury

Maarten Milders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To present an overview of studies that investigated associations between social cognition functions (social cue perception, empathy, understanding intentions) and social behaviour or social outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: The literature search was conducted in the Medline, PsycInfo, Cochrane Library and Web of Science databases. Main criteria for selection were that the participants were adult persons with TBI, social cognition as well as social behaviour or social outcome post-TBI was assessed and correlations between social cognition and social behaviour or outcome were reported. Average correlations were calculated based on weighted summation of the correlations from the individual studies. Results: Of the 511 publications identified in the search, 13 were selected. Ten of these assessed emotion recognition, six assessed understanding of intentions and two assessed empathy. Average correlations between social cognition performance and post-injury social behaviour or outcome were significant for each of the three social cognition functions; poorer performance was associated with poorer outcome. Effect sizes varied from small to moderate (understanding intentions) to moderate (emotion recognition) to large (empathy). Conclusions: The associations were in line with models of social cognition and proposals that impairments in social cognition may underlie social behaviour difficulties and poor social outcome following TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number1
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Social Cognition in TBI


  • social behaviour
  • social cognition
  • social outcome
  • Traumatic brain injury


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