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Soc Neurosci. 2016;11(1):49-59. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2015.1024887. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Left hemisphere EEG coherence in infancy predicts infant declarative pointing and preschool epistemic language.

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a Department of Psychology , Ludwig Maximilian University , Munich , Germany.


Pointing plays a central role in preverbal communication. While imperative pointing aims at influencing another person's behavior, declarative gestures serve to convey epistemic information and to share interest in an object. Further, the latter are hypothesized to be a precursor ability of epistemic language. So far, little is known about their underlying brain maturation processes. Therefore, the present study investigated the relation between brain maturation processes and the production of imperative and declarative motives as well as epistemic language in N = 32 infants. EEG coherence scores were measured at 14 months, imperative and declarative point production at 15 months and epistemic language at 48 months. Results of correlational analyses suggest distinct behavioral and neural patterns for imperative and declarative pointing, with declarative pointing being associated with the maturation of the left hemisphere. Further, EEG coherence measures of the left hemisphere at 14 months and declarative pointing at 15 months are related to individual differences in epistemic language skills at 48 months, independently of child IQ. In regression analyses, coherence measures of the left hemisphere prove to be the most important predictor of epistemic language skills. Thus, neural processes of the left hemisphere seem particularly relevant to social communication.


Declarative and imperative point production; EEG; Epistemic language; Infancy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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