Mental state attributions and diffusion tensor imaging after traumatic brain injury in children

Dev Neuropsychol. 2011;36(3):273-87. doi: 10.1080/87565641.2010.549885.


We studied social cognition in 49 children 3 months after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and in 39 children with orthopedic injury (OI). Children underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and a mental attribution task showing two triangles. Mental state attributions increased when one triangle reacted to intentions of the other, but less so in the TBI than the OI group. DTI identified injury to white matter microstructure in the TBI group, but the relation of DTI to mental attributions did not differ between groups. Moderate to severe TBI produces white matter disconnections that may affect social cognitive networks.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anisotropy
  • Bone Diseases / complications
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Corpus Callosum / metabolism
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Language
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Perception
  • Theory of Mind / physiology*