The ability to predict upcoming information is crucial for efficient language processing and enables more rapid language learning. The present study explored how shared reading experience influenced predictive brain signals and expressive vocabulary of 12-month-old infants. The predictive brain signals were measured by fNIRS responses in the occipital lobe with an unexpected visual-omission task. The amount of shared reading experience was correlated with the strength of this predictive brain signal and with infants’ expressive vocabulary. Importantly, the predictive brain signal explained unique variance of expressive vocabulary beyond shared reading experience and maternal education. A further mediation analysis showed that the effect of shared reading experience on expressive vocabulary was explained by the infants’ predictive brain signal. This is the first evidence indicating that richer shared reading experience strengthens predictive signals in the infant brain and in turn facilitates expressive vocabulary acquisition.
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