Social communication is an important skill that emerges during infancy. We examined individual differences in this skill as a function of temperament and neural activity in nine-month-old infants. We found that maternal ratings of temperament were associated with joint attention, an important index of early social communication. More specifically, maternal ratings of pleasure were associated with joint attention bids that were accompanied by positive affect, while maternal ratings of fearfulness were associated with joint attention bids that were accompanied by negative affect. We also found that initiating joint attention was associated with decreased left frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) power, and initiating behavioral requests were associated with decreased left frontal EEG power.
Keywords: joint attention, affect, temperament, EEG, social communication