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An RIT/NTID Center of Excellence for Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Sign Language Skill and Hearing Status as Predictors of Visual-Spatial Abilities

Deaf learners frequently have better visual-spatial memory but shorter memory spans than hearing peers. Recent research, however, has suggested that deaf students are no more likely to be visual learners than hearing students. At the same time, several visual-spatial abilities previously thought to be augmented among deaf individuals have been shown to be related to sign language skill rather than hearing status. Using working memory tasks and other visual-spatial tasks, this study is exploring the influence of hearing status, sign language skills, and spoken language skills on visual, spatial, and visual-spatial abilities. Both deaf and hearing students with and without sign language skills are involved in a battery of tasks that vary in the involvement of language, sequential memory, and visual-spatial memory.