Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Sociocognitive conflict and spatial perspective-taking in deaf children

Peterson, C.C. and Peterson, J.L. (1990) Sociocognitive conflict and spatial perspective-taking in deaf children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 11 (3). pp. 267-281.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


This study explored two possible theoretical bases for the persistent empirical finding that deaf children lag behind their hearing peers in the development of Piagetian concrete-operational reasoning (Furth, 1971; Liben, 1978). Observations that deaf persons have high tolerance for ambiguity and are exposed to overprotective, conflict-avoidant childbearing methods led to the hypothesis of a weaker drive toward cognitive equilibration in deaf than in hearing individuals. This hypothesis predicted that deaf subjects would be relatively ineffective when given the opportunity to debate with peers in spatial perspectives-taking tasks, showing little or no subsequent gains in reasoning. The present results failed to support this model. Instead, it was found that when deaf 5- to 13-year-olds worked on spatial perspective-taking problems with peers who had likewise failed to pretest, all dyads disagreed actively and productively together. Furthermore, as compared with a deaf control group whose pretest and posttest scores did not differ significantly, the deaf experimental group made reliably fewer errors of placement and orientation on individual posttests after exposure to collective conflict. These results support the notion that cognitive equilibration via sociocognitive conflict is a universal feature of development in both the hearing and the hearing impaired. Practical strategies for promoting productive peer interactions among deaf pupils in school were also discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Item Control Page Item Control Page