In this work, the neural correlates of emotional processing in Colombian ex-combatants with different empathy profiles were compared to normal controls matched for age, gender and educational level. Forty ex-combatants and 20 non ex-combatants were recruited for this study. Empathy levels as well as executive functions were measured. Empathy level was used to create three groups. Group 1 (G1) included ex-combatants with normal empathy scores, and Group 2 included ex-combatants with low scores on at least one empathy sub-scales. In control group (Ctrl), participants with no antecedents of being combatants and with normal scores in empathy were included. Age, gender, educational and intelligence quotients level were controlled among groups. event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while individuals performed an affective picture processing task that included positive, neutral and negative emotional stimuli, which elicit an early modulation of emotion categorization (Early Posterior Negativity (EPN)) and late evaluative process (LPP). EPN differences were found among affective categories, but no group effects were observed at this component. LPP showed a main effect of category and group (higher amplitudes in ex-combatants). There was an inverse correlation between empathy and executive functions scores and ERPs. Results are discussed according to the impact of emotional processing on empathy profile.
- Executive functions