Attribution of Emotions to Story Characters by Severely and Profoundly Deaf Children

Colin Gray, Judith Hosie, Phil Russell, Christine Scott, Norma Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Simple stories were presented to severely or profoundly prelingually deafened children and hearing controls in two age groups. Participants were asked to choose the appropriate emotion for the central characters. While at either age level, the hearing children's success rate was significantly higher than that of the deaf children, the older deaf children showed a marked improvement compared with the younger deaf children. In each age group, the profiles of the average scores of the deaf children over the six emotions studied were similar to those of their hearing peers, suggesting that the deaf children found the same emotions easier (or more difficult) to assign to the story characters. It would appear that deaf and hearing children code their emotional experiences using the same categories, which are progressively refined with age. The developmental delay in deaf children's emotional understanding is interpreted in terms of the social experience of the deaf child of hearing parents, which affords limited opportunity to discuss emotional causality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • deafness
  • story understanding
  • facial expressions
  • emotion
  • hearing children
  • others emotions
  • feeling states
  • preschoolers
  • labels


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