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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2009 Spring;14(2):218-36. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enn036. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

Theory of mind and language in children with cochlear implants.

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Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225-9089, USA.


Thirty children with cochlear implants (CI children), age range 3-12 years, and 30 children with normal hearing (NH children), age range 4-6 years, were tested on theory of mind and language measures. The CI children showed little to no delay on either theory of mind, relative to the NH children, or spoken language, relative to hearing norms. The CI children showed a slightly atypical sequence of acquisition of theory of mind concepts. The CI children's theory of mind performance was associated with general syntactic proficiency more than measures of complement syntax, and with time since implantation more than age at implantation. Results suggest that cochlear implantation can benefit spoken language ability, which may then benefit theory of mind, perhaps by increasing access to mental state language.

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