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Brain-injured patients can relearn emotions
Date:2/10/2009

aluate participants' recognition of emotion from faces and written text, changes in empathy and emotional behavior and any changes in the quality of their personal relationships.

Perhaps the most important observation from Willer's research is the plasticity of the neural structures involved with affect recognition. "What was so exciting about our preliminary study," says Willer, " is that someone may lose the ability to recognize emotions, but even 10 years later, they can relearn the skill if given the right assistance."

Willer also learned, in researching and developing this project, that emotional expressions appear to be universal. "It's completely cross-cultural," he says. "No matter what culture you enter, it's the same expressions, the same interpretation. The only exception is in some Muslim areas where women's faces are covered. In these settings, much more expression is communicated in the eyes, because only the eyes are visible."

Then there is "happy," which is the only emotion that TBI does not erase, says Willer. "Happy has so much redundant circuitry, so much additional wiring in the brain, that persons with brain injury always recognize happy. I don't know how that happened, but we all can be glad it did."


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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
7-166-455-000-1417
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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