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Understanding Other MindsPerspectives from developmental social neuroscience$
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Simon Baron-Cohen, Michael Lombardo, and Helen Tager-Flusberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692972.001.0001

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Theory of mind in deaf children

Theory of mind in deaf children

Illuminating the relative roles of language and executive functioning in the development of social cognition

(p.344) (p.345) Chapter 19 Theory of mind in deaf children
Understanding Other Minds

Jennie Pyers

Peter A. de Villiers

Oxford University Press

While executive function and language both support false-belief understanding in typically developing children, our review of the research with deaf children shows that in this population, language plays a stronger role than executive function in developing an explicit understanding of false beliefs. In addressing this discrepancy, we discuss the methodological challenges of conducting research with deaf children and explore deaf children's development of other aspects of theory of mind, including intentions and desires, sources-of-knowledge, implicit false-belief understanding, and joint attention. Taken together, the current evidence supports the importance of early language exposure and children’s own language acquisition in building a mature theory of mind.

Keywords:   Deafness, theory of mind, false belief, deception, language, inhibitory control, executive function

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