The development of the social brain in human infancy

Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Feb;25(4):909-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05379.x.


Much research has focused on how the adult human brain processes the social world, yet until recently little was known about the early development of these abilities. Developmental studies inform debates about the specificity of social functions in the adult cortex. This review highlights recent work, mainly based on electroencephalography/event-related potential methods, examining the precursors of the human social brain network during infancy in several domains such as face and eye gaze processing, the perception of emotions, decoding biological motion, perceiving human actions and joint attention. The findings illustrate that the human brain is fundamentally adapted to develop within a social context, and that this context contributes to many of the specializations seen in the adult cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Social Behavior*