Moral reasoning and traumatic brain injury dataset

Document Type



Edith Cowan University Research Online


Faculty of Business and Law

School or Research Centre

Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change / School of Law and Justice


Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative

Transport Accident Commission


Moral reasoning skills are crucial for appropriate and adaptive social functioning. Impairments in moral reasoning have been associated with aggressive and violent behaviours. Traditional measures of moral reasoning may provide limited insight into daily behavioural functioning as these measures are dependent on several higher order cognitive skills and, as such, may be limited in their utility with certain clinical populations. This dataset consists of measures of sociomoral reasoning and maturity, known as the So-Moral and So-Mature. The data relates to two groups: (1) a control group of 50 adolescents aged 11 to 19 and (2) a clinical group 25 adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The data consists of a mixture of existing clinical data and new data from the two groups, comprising questionnaires, list of tasks, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) images.
FMRI data has been collected by the hospital radiologists from Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. Questionnaire data has been collected by the researchers: Dr Julian Dooley and Dr Miriam Beauchamp of the University of Montreal, Canada. Questionnaire data is in SPSS format.

Additional Information

Some rights reside with Edith Cowan University, however rights are subject to an agreement with the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative.

Funding for the research is from the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative (VNI), however all VNI committed research has now been transitioned to the Transport Accident Commission (TAC of Victoria, Australia.

Co-researchers are Professor Vicki Anderson Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. Other research investigators are Dr Miriam Beauchamp, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Canada.

Research Activity Title

Cognitive and neural substrates of socially maladapted behaviour of adolescents after traumatic brain injury

Research Activity Description

Paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in cognitive and behavioural problems that persist into adulthood and have serious individual, community and legal implications. In particular, high rates of aggression and criminality have been reported suggesting that individuals with TBI are at risk for developing socially maladaptive behaviours as a consequence of the cognitive and neural disruptions that occur following brain injury. Adolescents are at even greater risk given the particular vulnerability of their developing brains at a time when social skills are at a critical developmental milestone. Despite the potential for adolescents to develop such impairments, the brain circuitry that underlies socially inappropriate behaviours remains elusive. This research hypothesizes that, due to changes in brain structure and function, adolescents with TBI are at risk for impairments in two cognitive functions, intent attribution and moral reasoning, each of which translates into inappropriate social behaviours, such as aggression and delinquency. No study has investigated the neural substrates of these functions in adolescents post-TBI despite the potential for impairments in these functions to be linked to socially maladaptive behaviours. The aim of the study was to identify the behavioural and neural substrates of socially maladaptive behaviours in adolescents with TBI.



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