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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2019 Jul 1;24(3):201-213. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enz006.

Social Abilities and Visual-Spatial Perspective-Taking Skill: Deaf Signers and Hearing Nonsigners.

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San Diego State University.
University of California, San Diego.


Social abilities relate to performance on visual-spatial perspective-taking (VSPT) tasks for hearing nonsigners but may relate differently to VSPT abilities for deaf signers because of their distinct linguistic and social experiences. This research investigated whether deaf adults approach VSPT tasks nonsocially (as previously suggested for deaf children) or socially (as seen for hearing adults). Adult hearing nonsigners (n = 45) and deaf signers (n = 44) performed a nonlinguistic VSPT task, mental rotation and spatial orientation tasks, and completed a questionnaire measuring social abilities and degree of socialness. No group differences were observed for any of the spatial tasks. Hearing nonsigners with better social abilities performed better on the VSPT task but deaf signers who were less social performed better on the VSPT task. Therefore, social abilities and VSPT skill relate differently for deaf and hearing individuals, possibly due to differences in communication modality and/or sociocultural experiences.

[Available on 2020-07-01]

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