Gestural interaction, where a person initiates interaction (initiator) and another person responds to it (follower), changes during development. The neural network comprising the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and the lateral occipito-temporal cortex (LOTC) is relevant to gestural interaction. The LOTC includes the extrastriate body area (EBA). Activation of these brain regions depends on the initiating/following role in adults. We conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging study on 18 children and 18 adults, to elucidate developmental changes of the neural mechanism underlying gestural interaction. We manipulated the initiating/following role (initiating/following) and congruency (congruent/incongruent) of executed and observed actions. After analyzing regional brain activity, we assessed psycho-physiological interaction to examine functional connectivity. Activation in the IFG and connectivity between the IFG and EBA in the Initiating rather than Following condition, which might be associated with evaluating social relevance, was stronger in adults than in children. The increase of the incongruency effect in the following condition (relative to the initiating condition) in the bilateral IPL was significantly attenuated in children compared with adults. These results suggest that the fronto-parieto-temporal network, involved in gestural interactions, undergoes developmental changes.
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