Relationship between the theory of mind and empathy in students with hearing impairment and those with normal hearing

  • Ali Rezaei Mirhesari Mail Department of Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Tehran, Iran
  • Saeid Hasanzadeh Department of Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Tehran, Iran
  • Bagher Ghobari Bonab Department of Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Tehran, Iran
  • Abbas Sheikhmohammadi Department of Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Tehran, Iran
Keywords:
Empathy, theory of mind, hearing impairment

Abstract

Background and Aim: Empathy is a basic human skill that is important in daily life. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of the theory of mind in predicting empathy.
Methods: This study adopted a causal-comparative design. 40 students with profound hearing impairment and 40 students with normal hearing, aged between 8 and 14, participated in the study. Instruments including false belief tasks and empathy questionnaires were distributed to the participants. For multivariate analysis of variance, a correlation analysis and multiple regression methods were used.
Results: Results indicated a significant difference between the total score of false belief tasks and empathy in students with hearing impairment and those with normal hearing (p<0.001). A significant relationship between the theory of mind and empathy was found in both groups (p<0.01). Also theory of mind could predict the empathy (p=0.001).
Conclusion: Based on the obtained results, significant reduction in the theory of mind and empathy was seen in students with hearing impairment. Therefore, training programs that focus on social skills are required for students with hearing impairment in order to address this problem. Moreover, training materials need to be tailored to their cognitive understanding.

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Published
2017-07-31
How to Cite
1.
Rezaei Mirhesari A, Hasanzadeh S, Ghobari Bonab B, Sheikhmohammadi A. Relationship between the theory of mind and empathy in students with hearing impairment and those with normal hearing. Aud Vestib Res. 23(5):44-51.
Section
Research Article(s)