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Non-verbal executive function is mediated by language: A study of deaf and hearing children

Botting, N; Jones, A; Marshall, CR; Denmark, T; Atkinson, J; Morgan, G; (2017) Non-verbal executive function is mediated by language: A study of deaf and hearing children. Child Development , 88 (5) pp. 1689-1700. 10.1111/cdev.12659. Green open access

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Abstract

Studies have suggested that language and Executive Function (EF) are strongly associated. Indeed, the two are difficult to separate, and it is particularly difficult to determine whether one skill is more dependent on the other. Deafness provides a unique opportunity to disentangle these skills because in this case, language difficulties have a sensory not cognitive basis. In this study, deaf children (n=108) and hearing peers (n=125) were assessed on language and a wide range of non-verbal EF tasks. Deaf children performed significantly less well on EF tasks, even controlling for nonverbal intelligence and speed of processing. Language mediated EF skill, but the reverse pattern was not evident. Findings suggest that language is key to EF performance rather than vice-versa.

Type: Article
Title: Non-verbal executive function is mediated by language: A study of deaf and hearing children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12659
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12659
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Deaf, Executive functions, Language development
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
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/1492757
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