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In a TBI population, cognitive changes are often the most salient features after traumatic brain injury of any severity, and they typically contribute more to a persisting disability than do physical impairments. These changes may include negative impacts on attention, memory, processing speed, and multiple other aspects of cognition and language. Current behavioral test methods are based on interpreting accuracy with tasks to measure these different cognitive processes. Numerous studies have been published documenting the effects of brain injury on these areas from a behavioral perspective, but interest in reaction time measures and electrophysiological impact is relatively new. Interestingly, accuracy has been found to be a less sensitive measure of ability than other methods. More recent research has indicated that reaction time (RT) is a more effective measure for speed of information processing, especially in brain injury patients. The current study addressed accuracy and reaction time on a semantic processing task in populations both with and without TBI. The group with a TBI was found to be significantly less accurate and slower than the group without TBI. This current research indicates that future directions for TBI assessment may lie with more objective measures that address both cognitive processing speed and electrophysiological correlates of behavioral data.
Date of Conference: 25-26 May 2010