Rehabilitation of Executive Function and Social Cognition Impairments After Brain Injury

Tom Manly; Fionnuala C. Murphy


Curr Opin Neurol. 2012;25(6):656-661. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Purpose of review Brain injury is a major cause of long-term disability. Executive and social cognition sequelae are associated with poor outcome. This review examines recent evidence on the efficacy of rehabilitation in these areas.

Recent findings Accumulating evidence shows that interventions that work with patients on developing insight and strategies to offset executive impairments can produce significant benefits. Training of specific capacities, such as working memory, holds some promise, but more needs to be known about effect generalization. Evidence on social cognition rehabilitation following brain injury is sparse. Although there are some encouraging early results, more information on the clinical significance of change for everyday function is required.

Summary Rehabilitation in these areas is inherently difficult but vital if outcomes are to improve. Significant gains have been reported, and further work applying appropriate methods is urgently required.


We consider recent developments made in the rehabilitation of executive function and social cognition following adult acquired brain injury (ABI). Our focus is on studies that have been published within the last 18 months, but where earlier examples are needed to illustrate an approach, these are provided. Executive function and social cognition interventions are highly relevant to progressive neurological, developmental, and psychiatric conditions, but these fall outside our scope.