Memory self-report following traumatic brain injury: Neurologically based anosognosia or motivated denial?
Memory impairment following traumatic brain injury is frequently accompanied by unawareness of cognitive deficits. This unawareness is often assumed to be attributable to motivated denial, though there is research to argue for a neurological basis of this unawareness. There has been no research to determine the source of unawareness of deficits. The purpose of this study was to assess memory impairment in a sample of 21 head-injured patients and to determine whether their poor self-awareness of deficits is primarily due to neurological or psychodynamic causes. In addition, it was hypothesized that as awareness increased, so would reactive depression. Twenty-one head-injured individuals were assessed using memory self-report, neuropsychological measurement instruments, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Feeling-of-Knowing test. In addition twenty-one normal control subjects were assessed using all of these same measures. The results of this study suggest that individuals who demonstrate unawareness of cognitive deficits are not experiencing motivated denial, but rather the unawareness is neurologically based. Measures of depression as a correlate of awareness were not significant. Future research might attempt to utilize memory-impaired individuals with good self-awareness as controls for patients experiencing unawareness of deficits, in order to more fully understand the nature of anosognosia.
Wolf, Amie Beth, "Memory self-report following traumatic brain injury: Neurologically based anosognosia or motivated denial?" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9313773.