Deficits in self awareness and taking the perspective of others are often observed following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Nine adolescents (ages 12-19 years) who had sustained moderate to severe TBI after an average interval of 2.6 years and nine typically developing (TD) adolescents underwent functional MRI (fMRI) while performing a perspective taking task (D'Argembeau et al., 2007). Participants made trait attributions either from their own perspective or from that of the significant other. The groups did not differ in reaction time or on a consistency criterion. When thinking of the self from a third-person perspective, adolescents with TBI demonstrated greater activation in posterior brain regions implicated in social cognition, the left lingual gyrus (BA 18) and posterior cingulate (BA 31), extending into neighboring regions not generally associated with social cognition, that is, cuneus (BA 31) and parahippocampal gyrus, relative to TD adolescents. We postulate that adolescents with moderate to severe TBI recruited alternative neural pathways during perspective-taking because traumatic axonal injury disrupted their fronto-parietal networks mediating social cognition.
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