Use of visual cues by adults with traumatic brain injuries to interpret explicit and inferential information

Jessica A. Brown, Karen Hux, Kelly Knollman-Porter, Sarah E. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Concomitant visual and cognitive impairments following traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may be problematic when the visual modality serves as a primary source for receiving information. Further difficulties comprehending visual information may occur when interpretation requires processing inferential rather than explicit content. The purpose of this study was to compare the accuracy with which people with and without severe TBI interpreted information in contextually rich drawings. Participants: Fifteen adults with and 15 adults without severe TBI. Design: Repeated-measures between-groups design. Main Measures: Participants were asked to match images to sentences that either conveyed explicit (ie, main action or background) or inferential (ie, physical or mental inference) information. The researchers compared accuracy between participant groups and among stimulus conditions. Results: Participants with TBI demonstrated significantly poorer accuracy than participants without TBI extracting information from images. In addition, participants with TBI demonstrated significantly higher response accuracy when interpreting explicit rather than inferential information; however, no significant difference emerged between sentences referencing main action versus background information or sentences providing physical versus mental inference information for this participant group. Conclusions: Difficulties gaining information from visual environmental cues may arise for people with TBI given their difficulties interpreting inferential content presented through the visual modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E32-E41
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Comprehension
  • High-context images
  • Inferences
  • Traumatic brain injury


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