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Kühn-Popp, N.; Kristen, S.; Paulus, M.; Meinhardt, J.; Sodian, B. (2016): Left hemisphere EEG coherence in infancy predicts infant declarative pointing and preschool epistemic language. In: Social Neuroscience, Vol. 11, No. 1: pp. 49-59
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Abstract

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 14months, imperative and declarative point production at 15months and epistemic language at 48months. 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 14months and declarative pointing at 15months are related to individual differences in epistemic language skills at 48months, 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.