Segregating polymorphisms ofFOXP2are associated with measures of inner speech, speech fluency and strength of handedness in a healthy population
We genotyped a healthy population for three haplotype-tagging FOXP2 SNPs, and tested for associations of these SNPs with strength of handedness and questionnaire-based metrics of inner speech characteristics (ISP) and speech fluency (FLU), as derived from the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-BR. Levels of mixed-handedness were positively correlated with ISP and FLU, supporting prior work on these two domains. Genotype for rs7799109, a SNP previously linked with lateralization of left frontal regions underlying language, was associated with degree of mixed handedness and with scores for ISP and FLU phenotypes. Genotype of rs1456031, which has previously been linked with auditory hallucinations, was also associated with ISP phenotypes. These results provide evidence that FOXP2 SNPs influence aspects of human inner speech and fluency that are related to lateralized phenotypes, and suggest that the evolution of human language, as mediated by the adaptive evolution of FOXP2, involved features of inner speech.