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


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.

Download full-text


Available from: Bourdin Béatrice
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study analyzed factors related to theory of mind (ToM) development in 12 hearing-impaired children aged 4-7 years whose average hearing level was 75-7 dB (46.2-110 dB, 1 SD 22.7), compared to 12 hearing preschoolers 4-5 years old. Two ToM tasks, the “explanation of action task” and “false belief task,” were evaluated. The results revealed no difference between hearing-impaired subjects and hearing subjects in ability to use mental state to explain causes of human action. On the other hand, hearing-impaired subjects delayed significantly in the false belief task compared to hearing subjects. Hearing-impaired children were likely to delay in meta-representational development, i.e. the ability of representational understanding of others' mind from the others' viewpoint. Hearing-impaired subjects had a higher language development level for acquiring meta-representational ability than hearing subjects. These results suggest that meta-representational development of hearing-impaired children is influenced more by hearing level, language development age or syntax-appropriate utterances than by the hearing threshold level of the aided or implanted ear or the mean length of utterance in morphemes. This study indicated the development of meta-representational ability in hearing-impaired children and the factors related to acquiring that ability. The results are useful as fundamental data for constructing language training programs.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Japan Journal of Logopedics and Phoniatrics
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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:
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education