Impaired Storytelling Ability After Traumatic Brain Injury Can Lead To Social Bias

doctor reviewing brain scans

Storytelling requires facial expressions, body gestures, and vocal effects in order to be engaging and effective. People who are good storytellers are considered more charismatic and accessible. Sometimes after a traumatic brain injury, a person might not be able to effectively use facial and body gestures when telling a story. Their verbal skills may be less expressive, or flat. As a result, people who have a traumatic brain injury might be considered less charismatic, awkward, or even boring.

A recent study of this bias found that storytelling ability after traumatic brain injury influences not only how the storyteller is perceived but also the likelihood of engaging that person in future conversations. During social interactions, people are quick to judge whether or not to associate with another person. Unfortunately, a person with a traumatic brain injury who is not able to fully use facial or body expression, and who may talk slowly or without a lot of vocal variation may be quickly misjudged by others.

Jones CA, & Turkstra LS. Selling the story: Narratives and charisma in adults with TBI. Brain Injury. (August 2011).