Ambra Fastelli, Barbara Arfè

The contribution of deaf studies to the investigation of implicit learning

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Keywords: Deaf studies, implicit sequence learning, language learning, early auditory deprivation, auditory scaffolding hypothesis.

Studies on language development in deaf children with cochlear implants typically show an extreme variability of the linguistic results obtained by this group. Recently, it has been hypothesized that this variability is a consequence of a deficit in domain-general processes of sequence learning. In this article, we discuss this hypothesis by presenting a review of studies that have explored the relationship between hearing loss, language deficits, and domain-general sequence learning deficits. Our review shows that the results of these studies are not always consistent. Possible explanations for the various findings present in the literature will be proposed and discussed. The contribution of deaf studies to the general investigation of the learning processes and to the rehabilitation practice will also be discussed.

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