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Inferencing Abilities of Deaf College Students: Foundations and Implications for Metaphor Comprehension and Theory of Mind

Edwards, L; Marschark, M; Kronenberger, WG; Crowe, K; Walton, D; (2020) Inferencing Abilities of Deaf College Students: Foundations and Implications for Metaphor Comprehension and Theory of Mind. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 10.1007/s10882-020-09746-w. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Understanding nonliteral language requires inferencing ability and is an important but complex aspect of social interaction, involving cognitive (e.g., theory of mind, executive function) as well as language skill, areas in which many deaf individuals struggle. This study examined comprehension of metaphor and sarcasm, assessing the contributions of hearing status, inferencing ability, executive function (verbal short-term/working memory capacity), and deaf individuals’ communication skills (spoken versus signed language, cochlear implant use). Deaf and hearing college students completed a multiple-choice metaphor comprehension task and inferencing tasks that included both social-emotional (i.e., theory of mind) and neutral inferences, as well as short-term memory span and working memory tasks. Results indicated the hearing students to have better comprehension of nonliteral language and the ability to make social-emotional inferences, as well as greater memory capacity. Deaf students evidenced strong relationships among inferential comprehension, communication skills, and memory capacity, with substantial proportions of the variance in understanding of metaphor and sarcasm accounted for by these variables. The results of this study enhance understanding of the language and cognitive skills underlying figurative language comprehension and theory of mind and have implications for the social functioning of deaf individuals.

Type: Article
Title: Inferencing Abilities of Deaf College Students: Foundations and Implications for Metaphor Comprehension and Theory of Mind
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10882-020-09746-w
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-020-09746-w
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Metaphor, Sarcasm, Inferencing, Deaf, Cochlear implant
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10114752
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