An ERP study on facial emotion processing in young people with subjective memory complaints
Subjective memory complaints (SMCs) are commonly related to aging, but they are also presented by young adults. Their neurophysiological mechanisms are not thoroughly understood, although some aspects related to affective state have been mentioned. Here, we investigated whether facial emotion processing is different in young people with (n = 41) and without (n = 39) SMCs who were exposed to positive, negative, and neutral faces, by recording the event-related potential (ERP) activity. From the ERP activity, the N170 (an index of face processing) and the LPP (an index of motivated attention) components were extracted. Regarding the N170, results showed less amplitude for positive and neutral faces in the participants with SMCs than in those without SMCs. Moreover, women with SMCs displayed longer latencies for neutral faces than women without SMCs. No significant differences were found between the groups in the LPP component. Together, our findings suggest deficits in an early stage of facial emotion processing in young people with SMCs, and they emphasize the importance of further examining affective dimensions.