Counting processes in deaf children's arithmetic

Authors


Department of Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.

Abstract

Ten profoundly deaf children and 10 hearing controls matched for arithmetical achievement were given integer additions to classify as right or wrong. Hearing children perform this task by using covert counting strategies which have been assumed to be subvocal. In view of deaf children's poor spoken language abilities it was expected that the deaf group would make little or no use of such covert counting strategies and would rely more on alternative methods such as recalling learned number facts from long-term memory. The results failed to confirm this expectation and showed that classification times for the deaf were generally consistent with the same counting model as for the hearing. There was no difference between the groups in responses to correct sums involving ties or to incorrect sums, potential indicators of the use of associative retrieval. It is suggested that the covert counting processes of both deaf and hearing children in integer addition do not involve subvocalization. Alternative possibilities and general implications of this result for the education of the deaf are discussed.

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