The impact of verbal capacity on theory of mind in deaf and hard of hearing children

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Philosophy, University of Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France.
American annals of the deaf (Impact Factor: 0.88). 07/2012; 157(1):66-77. DOI: 10.1353/aad.2012.1610
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Even when they have good language skills, many children with hearing loss lag several years behind hearing children in the ability to grasp beliefs of others. The researchers sought to determine whether this lag results from difficulty with the verbal demands of tasks or from conceptual delays. The researchers related children's performance on a nonverbal theory of mind task to their scores on verbal aptitude tests. Twelve French children (average age about 10 years) with severe to profound hearing loss and 12 French hearing children (average about 7 years) were evaluated. The children with hearing loss showed persistent difficulty with theory of mind tasks, even a nonverbal task, presenting results similar to those of hearing 6-year-olds. Also, the children with hearing loss showed a correlation between language level (lexical and morphosyntactic) and understanding of false beliefs. No such correlation was found in the hearing children.

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Available from: Bourdin Béatrice, Sep 28, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: This study is part of a larger longitudinal project with the aim of focusing early social interaction and development of mentalizing ability in 12 deaf infants, including the interaction between the infants and their deaf parents. The aim of the present paper is to describe early social interaction and moments of intersubjectivity between the deaf infants and their deaf parents during the first 18 months of the infant's life. The study is focused on the dyadic interaction rather than on the behaviors of the infant and the caregiver separately. In the analysis, the Intersubjective Developmental Theory Model (Loots, Devisé, & Sermijn, 2003) and the definitions of moments of intersubjectivity (Loots, Devisé, & Jacquet, 2005) were used. The findings show that the participating infants follow a typical developmental trajectory of intersubjectivity, both with regard to developmental stages and age. This development is supported by a visual, simultaneous way of communicating by gaze rather than having constant eye contact. Parents use complex visual communication skills in maintaining joint attention and also expect the infant to grasp the meaning of the interaction by use of gaze contact. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:
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