Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Conversation in a shared language (spoken or signed) is not only a pleasurable social activity but also a fundamental building block for the growth of social cognition, including theory of mind (ToM). Participating in informal conversations at home and at school fosters cognitive development of ToM, which, in turn, fosters reciprocated friendship, peer-group popularity, leadership, and social skills, while protecting against loneliness and social isolation. These interconnections between ToM and conversation are explored with a special focus on deaf children, a population of key theoretical significance for the understanding of ToM development generally. Timely ToM growth is linked with (a) having access from birth to a language (spoken or signed) that all family members can fluently share, (b) frequent family discussions of cognitive mental states, (c) school-based access to varied peer and adult conversational partners, and (d) children’s own eagerness to participate in conversations exposing them to different mental viewpoints.

Keywords: conversation, theory of mind, deaf children, social cognition, false-belief test, parents, siblings, cognitive mental states, sign language, cochlear implants, native signers

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.