New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research funds Kessler Foundation study in children


Dr. Lengenfelder of Kessler Foundation will test new treatment for emotional processing deficits in children with traumatic brain injury


Credit: Kessler Foundation/Jody Banks

East Hanover, N.J. December 24, 2020 – Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, of Kessler Foundation, received a two-year $168,001 grant from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research to study the impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the ability of children to reliably process the emotions of others.

Children with TBI often struggle with social interaction and relationships, even years after their injury. Difficulty in emotional processing may contribute to these social problems. Specifically, difficulty correctly identifying emotions from facial expressions can have significant negative impacts on social interactions, mood, and quality of life.

“While there has been much research on emotional processing problems in adults with TBI, much less has been done in children with TBI who have these deficits,” said Dr. Lengenfelder, assistant director of the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation. “Developing and applying treatments to improve emotional processing is critical to improving how these children function at home, in school, and eventually, the workplace.”

Dr. Lengenfelder’s pilot study is based on an existing 12-session treatment used to teach adults with TBI to correctly recognize facial expressions of different emotions. The research team will adapt this treatment to the pediatric population, and test its effectiveness in improving emotional processing deficits in children recovering from TBI.

Kessler Foundation conducts pediatric rehabilitation research in partnership with Children’s Specialized Hospital. See website for current studies:

For detailed information, contact our recruitment specialist at R[email protected]

Funding: New Jersey Commission for Brain Injury Research (CBIR20PIL021)


About the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research

The New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research promotes the necessary research that will result in the treatment and cure for traumatic injuries of the brain, thereby giving hope to an ever increasing number of residents who suffer the debilitating effects of this injury. To achieve these goals the Commission will encourage and promote significant, original research projects in New Jersey emphasizing nerve regeneration as a means to a cure for brain injury through the funding of approved research projects at qualifying research institutions in the state. In addition, the Commission will establish and maintain, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health, a central registry of all persons who sustain traumatic brain injuries. The New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research, whose members are appointed by the Governor, was established on January 2, 2004, with the passage of the “Brain Injury Research Act” by the New Jersey State Legislature.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes–including employment–for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

For more information on Kessler Foundation’s research, visit

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Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; [email protected]

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Carolann Murphy, PA
[email protected]

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