Atypical modulations of N170 component during emotional processing and their links to social behaviors in ex-combatants

Sandra Trujillo, Stella Valencia, Natalia Trijillo, Juan E. Ugarriza, Mónica V. Rodríguez, Jorge Rendon, David Antonio Pineda, Jose David Lopez, Agustín M. Ibáñez, Mario Parra Rodriguez

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Emotional processing (EP) is crucial for the elaboration and implementation of adaptivesocial strategies. EP is also necessary for the expression of social cognition and behavior(SCB) patterns. It is well-known that war contexts induce socio-emotional atypicalfunctioning, in particular for those who participate in combats. Thus, ex-combatantsrepresent an ideal non-clinical population to explore EP modulation and to evaluateits relation with SCB. The aim of this study was to explore EP and its relation withSCB dimensions such as empathy, theory of mind and social skills in a sample of 50subjects, of which 30 were ex-combatants from illegally armed groups in Colombia,and 20 controls without combat experience. We adapted an Emotional Recognition Task for faces and words and synchronized it with electroencephalographic recording. Ex-combatants presented with higher assertion skills and showed more pronounced brain responses to faces than Controls. They did not show the bias toward anger observed in control participants whereby the latter group was more likely to misclassifyneutral faces as angry. However, ex-combatants showed an atypical word valence processing. That is, words with different emotions yielded no differences in N170 modulations. SCB variables were successfully predicted by neurocognitive variables. Our results suggest that in ex-combatants the links between EP and SCB functions are reorganized. This may reflect neurocognitive modulations associated to chronic exposure to war experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number244
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Early online date23 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


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