Emotional development in deaf children: facial expression, emotional understanding, display rules, mixed emotions, and theory of mind
Background and Aim: Various studies indicate that deaf children compared with hearing children have problems in all aspects of emotional development, including facial expression, emotional understanding of display rules, mixed and contradictory emotions and theory of mind. This article reviews studies of impaired emotional development in children with hearing impairment.
Recent Findings: Some findings indicate that young deaf children function similar to hearing children. The difficulty in understanding display rules experienced by deaf children can be explained by appealing to their inability to adequately express emotions in emotion-eliciting contexts, as opposed to their difficulty in understanding mental states. Overall, research findings indicate that emotional understanding in various aspects and dimensions is associated with children's language abilities.
Conclusion: Results obtained show that more aspects of deaf children 's emotional development (such as interpretation and recognition of facial expression) are similar to that of their peers. However, deaf children performed more poorly in tasks which required experience in understanding display rules and theory of mind . Recent findings generally demonstrate that language plays an important role in the emotional development of children. Therefore, deaf children in comparison to hearing children are less able performers.
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