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Imitation, Sign Language Skill and the Developmental Ease of Language Understanding (D-ELU) Model
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1896-8250
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5025-9975
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, no 107Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Imitation and language processing are closely connected. According to the Ease of Language Understanding (ELU) model (Ronnberg et al., 2013) pre-existing mental representation of lexical items facilitates language understanding. Thus, imitation of manual gestures is likely to be enhanced by experience of sign language. We tested this by eliciting imitation of manual gestures from deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) signing and hearing non-signing children at a similar level of language and cognitive development. We predicted that the DHH signing children would be better at imitating gestures lexicalized in their own sign language (Swedish Sign Language, SSL) than unfamiliar British Sign Language (BSL) signs, and that both groups would be better at imitating lexical signs (SSL and BSL) than non-signs. We also predicted that the hearing non-signing children would perform worse than DHH signing children with all types of gestures the first time (T1) we elicited imitation, but that the performance gap between groups would be reduced when imitation was elicited a second time (T2). Finally, we predicted that imitation performance on both occasions would be associated with linguistic skills, especially in the manual modality. A split-plot repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated that DHH signers imitated manual gestures with greater precision than non-signing children when imitation was elicited the second but not the first time. Manual gestures were easier to imitate for both groups when they were lexicalized than when they were not; but there was no difference in performance between familiar and unfamiliar gestures. For both groups, language skills at T1 predicted imitation at T2. Specifically, for DHH children, word reading skills, comprehension and phonological awareness of sign language predicted imitation at T2. For the hearing participants, language comprehension predicted imitation at T2, even after the effects of working memory capacity and motor skills were taken into account. These results demonstrate that experience of sign language enhances the ability to imitate manual gestures once representations have been established, and suggest that the inherent motor patterns of lexical manual gestures are better suited for representation than those of non-signs. This set of findings prompts a developmental version of the ELU model, D-ELU.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA , 2016. Vol. 7, no 107
Keyword [en]
imitation; sign language; manual gesture; representation; development
National Category
Basic Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-125800DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00107ISI: 000370127400001PubMedID: 26909050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-125800DiVA: diva2:910335
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare [2008-0846]

Available from: 2016-03-08 Created: 2016-03-04 Last updated: 2017-11-30
In thesis
1. Signs for Developing Reading: Sign Language and Reading Development in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Signs for Developing Reading: Sign Language and Reading Development in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Tecken på läsutveckling : Teckenspråk och läsutveckling hos döva och hörselskadade barn
Abstract [en]

Reading development is supported by strong language skills, not least in deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children. The work in the present thesis investigates reading development in DHH children who use sign language, attend Regional Special Needs Schools (RSNS) in Sweden and are learning to read. The primary aim of the present work was to investigate whether the reading skills of these children can be improved via computerized sign language based literacy training. Another aim was to investigate concurrent and longitudinal associations between skills in reading, sign language, and cognition in this population. The results suggest that sign language based literacy training may support development of word reading. In addition, awareness and manipulation of the sub-lexical structure of sign language seem to assist word reading, and imitation of familiar signs (i.e., vocabulary) may be associated with developing reading comprehension. The associations revealed between sign language skills and reading development support the notion that sign language skills provide a foundation for emerging reading skills in DHH signing children. In addition, the results also suggest that working memory and Theory of Mind (ToM) are related to reading comprehension in this population. Furthermore, the results indicate that sign language experience enhances the establishment of representations of manual gestures, and that progression in ToM seems to be typical, although delayed, in RSNS pupils. Working memory has a central role in integrating environmental stimuli and language-mediated representations, and thereby provides a platform for cross-modal language processing and multimodal language development.

Abstract [sv]

En god språklig förmåga bidrar till god läsutveckling, inte minst hos döva och hörselskadade (D/H) barn. Studierna som ingår i avhandlingen undersöker läsutveckling hos D/H elever som går på teckenspråkiga specialskolor och som håller på att lära sig att läsa. Arbetets huvudsakliga syfte var att undersöka om deras läsförmåga kan förbättras via datoriserad teckenspråksbaserad lästräning. Ett annat syfte var att undersöka samtida och longitudinella samband mellan läsförmåga, teckenspråk, och kognition i samma population. Resultaten indikerar att teckenspråksbaserad lästräning kan bidra till ordläsningsutveckling. Vidare pekar resultaten på att medvetenhet om och manipulation av teckenspråkets sublexikala struktur stöttar läsförmågan och dessutom att imitation av kända tecken (i.e., vokabulär) var associerat med utvecklingen av barnens läsförståelse. Dessa fynd visar att teckenspråkskunskaper kan utgöra en grund för läsutveckling hos teckenspråkiga D/H elever. Resultaten indikerade även att arbetsminne och Theory of Mind (ToM) är relaterade till läsförståelse i denna grupp. Vid sidan av resultaten rörande läsutveckling, framkom också att teckenspråkserfarenhet leder till starkare etablering av representationer av manuella gester och vidare att barnens mentaliseringsförmåga (Theory of Mind) uppvisade en förväntad progression, om än försenad. En implikation av detta är att insatser som stöttar utveckling av teckenbaserade representationer och deras användning vid bearbetning av skrivet språk kan främja läsutveckling hos teckenspråkiga D/H elever. Arbetsminne föreslås genom sin roll i integration mellan inkommande stimuli och språkmedierade representationer fungera som en plattform för modalitetsöverskridande språkbearbetning och multimodal språkutveckling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 95 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 681Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 79
Keyword
Deaf and hard-of-hearing, intervention, sign language, reading development, word reading, reading comprehension, working memory, imitation, Theory of Mind, Döva och hörselskadade barn, intervention, teckenspråk, läsutveckling, ordläsning, läsförståelse, arbetsminne, imitation, Theory of Mind
National Category
Psychology Specific Languages Clinical Medicine Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-128207 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-128207 (DOI)978-91-7685-767-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-10, Key 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-05-23 Created: 2016-05-23 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved

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