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When Injury Clouds Understanding of Others: Theory of Mind after Mild TBI in Preschool Children

  • Jenny Bellerose (a1) (a2), Annie Bernier (a1), Cindy Beaudoin (a2), Jocelyn Gravel (a2) and Miriam H. Beauchamp (a1) (a2)...


There is evidence to suggest that social skills, such as the ability to understand the perspective of others (theory of mind), may be affected by childhood traumatic brain injuries; however, studies to date have only considered moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study aimed to assess theory of mind after early, mild TBI (mTBI). Fifty-one children who sustained mTBI between 18 and 60 months were evaluated 6 months post-injury on emotion and desires reasoning and false-belief understanding tasks. Their results were compared to that of 50 typically developing children. The two groups did not differ on baseline characteristics, except for pre- and post-injury externalizing behavior. The mTBI group obtained poorer scores relative to controls on both the emotion and desires task and the false-belief understanding task, even after controlling for pre-injury externalizing behavior. No correlations were found between TBI injury characteristics and theory of mind. This is the first evidence that mTBI in preschool children is associated with theory of mind difficulties. Reduced perspective taking abilities could be linked with the social impairments that have been shown to arise following TBI. (JINS, 2015, 21, 483–493)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Miriam H. Beauchamp, Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3C 3J7. E-mail:


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When Injury Clouds Understanding of Others: Theory of Mind after Mild TBI in Preschool Children

  • Jenny Bellerose (a1) (a2), Annie Bernier (a1), Cindy Beaudoin (a2), Jocelyn Gravel (a2) and Miriam H. Beauchamp (a1) (a2)...


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