Evaluative understanding and role-taking ability: a comparison of deaf and hearing children.

C. A. Kusché, Mark T. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study were (1) to evaluate the growth of social-cognitive knowledge in deaf and hearing children during the early and middle school years and (2) to assess the relative importance of language in 2 domains of social cognition. This study separately examined the child's ability to (1) evaluate the concepts of good and bad and (2) take another person's perspective. Subjects consisted of 30 deaf and 30 hearing children divided into 3 developmental levels (52 months, 74 months, and 119 months old). For the good/bad evaluation test, each child was shown 12 sets of multiple-choice pictures. Each set had 4 alternatives, which included 1 good, 1 bad, or all neutral activities. Role-taking ability was evaluated through the child's choice of strategy in a binary-choice hiding/guessing game. The results showed that deaf children evidence a developmental delay in the understanding of the concepts of good and bad. With regard to role-taking ability, there appears to be a developmental delay with young deaf children, which is no longer apparent by the age of 6. The assumption of egocentrism in school-age deaf children frequently found in the literature thus appears to be misleading. It is not that these deaf children are unable to take another person's perspective, but rather that they are delayed in evaluative understanding. The results suggest that language is of varying importance in differing domains of social and personality development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalChild Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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