NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ774360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Language Access and Theory of Mind Reasoning: Evidence from Deaf Children in Bilingual and Oralist Environments
Meristo, Marek; Falkman, Kerstin W.; Hjelmquist, Erland; Tedoldi, Mariantonia; Surian, Luca; Siegal, Michael
Developmental Psychology, v43 n5 p1156-1169 Sep 2007
This investigation examined whether access to sign language as a medium for instruction influences theory of mind (ToM) reasoning in deaf children with similar home language environments. Experiment 1 involved 97 deaf Italian children ages 4-12 years: 56 were from deaf families and had LIS (Italian Sign Language) as their native language, and 41 had acquired LIS as late signers following contact with signers outside their hearing families. Children receiving bimodal/bilingual instruction in LIS together with Sign-Supported and spoken Italian significantly outperformed children in oralist schools in which communication was in Italian and often relied on lipreading. Experiment 2 involved 61 deaf children in Estonia and Sweden ages 6-16 years. On a wide variety of ToM tasks, bilingually instructed native signers in Estonian Sign Language and spoken Estonian succeeded at a level similar to age-matched hearing children. They outperformed bilingually instructed late signers and native signers attending oralist schools. Particularly for native signers, access to sign language in a bilingual environment may facilitate conversational exchanges that promote the expression of ToM by enabling children to monitor others' mental states effectively.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Estonia; Italy; Sweden