Sex hormones in early infancy seem to predict aspects of later language development

Brain Lang. 2015 Feb;141:70-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2014.11.015. Epub 2014 Dec 22.


Sex differences in the development of cognitive behavior such as language have long been of great research interest. Lately, researchers have started to associate language function and brain differences with diverse sex hormones (e.g., testosterone/estradiol). However, results concerning the impact of early postnatal sex hormone concentration on the child's later language development are rare. Here, we analyze the impact of testosterone and estradiol in girls and boys as well as their neurophysiological phonemic discrimination at age 5months on language development at age 4years. Interestingly, we found strong positive estradiol and negative testosterone impact on later language performance at age 4years, which was true for both girls and boys. These results demonstrate that postnatal sex hormone surge might be viewed as one factor determining later language development, independent of gender.

Keywords: Childhood; Estradiol; Language development; Sex hormone; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development*
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol