Korean Deaf Adolescents’ Awareness of Thematic and Taxonomic Relations among Ordinary Concepts Represented by Pictures and Written Words
Individuals’ relative awareness of thematic and taxonomic relations is influenced by factors such as language and background knowledge. Relatively weak in Korean language skills and also having relatively limited social opportunities, Korean deaf adolescents might be different from hearing adolescents in how they make decisions in taxonomically and thematically associated entities represented by pictures and words. Experiment 1 indicated that deaf adolescents had longer reaction times than hearing adolescents in a forced-choice decision-making task. Both deaf and hearing adolescents had shorter reaction times and higher accuracies with pictures than with words, but deaf adolescents’ differences were bigger than those of hearing adolescents. Experiment 2 further showed that deaf adolescents had lower accuracies than hearing adolescents in a priming task of living–nonliving categorization. Both deaf and hearing adolescents had shorter reaction times with taxonomic than with thematic categories, but deaf adolescents’ difference was bigger than that of hearing adolescents. In conclusion, Korean deaf adolescents were aware of thematic and taxonomic relations less than hearing adolescents in general. They were more likely than hearing adolescents to show the advantage of pictures over words in their performance in conceptual activities and to prefer taxonomic to thematic associations for written words in Experiment 2.