Lateralisation of speech and handedness in the developing brain

Hodgson, Jessica, Hirst, Rebecca and Hudson, John (2015) Lateralisation of speech and handedness in the developing brain. In: British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience (BACN) Annual Meeting, 10-11th September 2015, University of Essex.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive


Commonly displayed functional asymmetries such as hand dominance and hemispheric speech lateralisation are well researched in adults. However there is debate about when such functions become lateralised in the typically developing brain. This study examined whether patterns of speech laterality and hand dominance were related and whether they varied with age in typically developing children. 153 children aged 3-10 (M = 5.9yrs, SD = 2.02yrs) performed an electronic peg moving task to determine hand dominance; a subset of 38 of these children also underwent functional Transcranial Doppler (fTCD) imaging during a speech production task to derive a lateralisation index (LI) for hemispheric activation during speech. There was no main effect of age in the speech laterality scores (t (36) = .347, p = .73). Across the whole sample the dominant hand out-performed the non-dominant hand. However, most interestingly, younger children showed a greater difference in performance between their hands (F(1,37) = 7.708 p < .01. Furthermore, this between-hand performance difference significantly interacted with direction of speech laterality, with a smaller difference relating to increased left hemisphere activation (F(1,37) = 7.15 p < .05. This data shows that handedness and speech lateralisation appear relatively determined by age 3, but crucially younger children show a stronger performance preference for their dominant hand, a gap which narrows during development. Results are discussed in terms of the common neural systems underpinning handedness and speech lateralisation.

Keywords:Lateralisation, child development, Handedness, fTCD, Speech
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:18681
Deposited On:16 Sep 2015 18:20

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