ASSOCIATIONS AMONG SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, HOME LANGUAGE ENVIRONMENT, AND RESTING EEG DURING INFANCY

All Authors:
Natalie Hiromi Brito, New York University, New York, NY, United States (Primary Presenter)

Extensive research has demonstrated socioeconomic disparities in brain structure and function (Brito & Noble, 2014; Hackman & Farah, 2009). However, few studies have examined links among socioeconomic status (SES), experience, brain development and cognitive performance. Socioeconomically disadvantaged children tend to experience less linguistic and cognitive stimulation from their home environments than children from higher-SES homes (Hart and Risley, 1995; Bradley and Corwyn, 2002). The present study examines associations between SES, the home language environment, concurrent EEG power, and language skills for infants 6- to 12-months (current N = 50). We find no correlations between SES and language skills; however, significant positive associations were found between socioeconomic factors (family income, maternal education) and EEG (13-36 Hz) in the left parietal (β:0.21-0.42, < 0.05) left temporal (β:0.30-0.39, p< 0.05), and right temporal (β:0.31-0.37, p< 0.04) regions. Education, but not income, was associated with the number of adult words heard by the infant in the home (AWC:β=.27, p= .04) and AWC was also correlated with resting EEG (13-36 Hz), in the left parietal (β:0.56-0.88, p< 0.007) and right temporal (β:0.38-0.42, p< 0.04) regions. When controlling for AWC, parental education (b = -0.03, p= 0.36) was not significantly associated with EEG (R2= .37, Bootstrap: b = .04, SE = .02, 95% CI = .004 to .09), supporting a mediational hypothesis. Examining environmental mechanisms by which SES disparities operate is imperative in understanding risk and resilience during childhood.