Neural Correlates of Impaired Self-awareness of Deficits after Acquired Brain Injury: A Systematic Review

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Self-awareness is essential for the process and outcome of rehabilitation but is often affected by acquired brain injury (ABI). While many studies investigated the psychological aspects of self-awareness deficits, the biological underpinnings are not well understood. The aim of this systematic review was to identify the neural correlates of self-awareness after ABI. Results indicate that anticipation of future problems is associated with lesions and decreased neural functioning in the right frontal lobe, as well as increased diffusivity throughout the white matter of the brain. Poor behavioral adjustment on implicit awareness tasks is associated with less functional connectivity of anterior cingulate cortex and right or middle inferior frontal gyri to the fronto-parietal control network, as well as more activation in the left insula and left parietal operculum during error processing. Recognition of mistakes is associated with internetwork connectivity of anterior or posterior default mode network to salience network. In conclusion, after ABI, different results in brain activation and connectivity are found depending on level of awareness measured. Future studies are necessary to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalNeuropsychology Review
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2022


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neural correlates
  • Self-awareness
  • Unawareness

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