: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) is associated with interpersonal problems and difficulties in inferring other peoples’ emotions. Previous research has focused on face processing, mostly in children. Our study investigated configural processing of emotional bodies and faces in adults with ADHD in comparison with healthy controls, analyzing P100, N170 and P250 event-related potentials (ERPs) and relating them to (socio)cognitive functioning. : Nineteen patients with ADHD and 25 healthy controls were presented upright and inverted bodies and faces which had to be categorized as neutral, happy or angry while ERPs were recorded. Additionally, sociocognitive and executive functioning was assessed. : In ADHD patients relative to controls, recognition of emotions depicted by bodies but not by faces was impaired and P100 amplitudes were enhanced for angry bodies. Furthermore, patients showed enhanced P250 amplitudes in response to both bodies and faces, specifically for happy and neutral emotions. Larger N170 amplitudes to bodies and faces correlated with lower alexithymia scores only in controls, while enhanced P250 amplitudes to both categories were associated with poorer inhibition only in patients. : Adults with ADHD show potentially compensatory enhanced semantic processing of emotional bodies and faces, as reflected by increased P250 amplitudes, associated with poorer executive functioning and subtle alterations of emotional and configural processing, as reflected by ERPs.

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PubMed