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ERIC Number: EJ1211760
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Apr
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1081-4159
Understanding Theory of Mind in Deaf and Hearing College Students
Marschark, Marc; Edwards, Lindsey; Peterson, Candida; Crowe, Kathryn; Walton, Dawn
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, v24 n2 p104-118 Apr 2019
Theory of Mind--the understanding that people have thoughts, wants, and beliefs that influence their interpersonal behavior--is an aspect of social cognition that develops with consistent, increasing complexity across age groups, languages, and cultures. Observed delays in theory of mind development among deaf children and others has led to a conversational account of theory of mind development and its delays in terms of the nature and amount of social communication experienced by children directly (conversationally) and indirectly (via overhearing). The present study explored theory of mind in deaf young adults by evaluating their understanding of sarcasm and advanced false belief (second-order false belief and double bluff), as well as related cognitive abilities. Consistent with previous studies, deaf participants scored significantly below hearing peers on all three theory of mind tasks. Performance was unrelated to their having had early access to social communication via either sign language (from deaf parents) or spoken language (through cochlear implants), suggesting that deaf participants' performance was not solely a function of access to social communication in early childhood. The finding of different predictors of theory of mind performance for deaf and hearing groups is discussed in terms of its language, social, and cognitive foundations.
Oxford University Press. Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK. Tel: +44-1865-353907; Fax: +44-1865-353485; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Authoring Institution: N/A