On the inter-relationship of cognition and affect: Fantasies of deaf children

M. Bruce Sarlin, Kenneth Z. Altshuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A few projective studies focusing on the impact of cognition on affect in the deaf have reported strikingly disparate results with little systematic inquiry. A new and previously unreported play situation (with the deaf) was devised to elicit a detailed story. Fantasies were obtained in a uniform fashion from four groups of five-year-old boys comprising middle-class deaf and hearing children and lower socio-economic-class deaf and hearing children. Results suggest that: (1) The impact of deafness on cognitive functioning in these children is akin to-but apparently no worse than-the cultural deprivation phenomenon experienced by low socio-economic-status children. (2) There is no paucity of fantasy life in the deaf or deprived child, despite the absence or relative lack of verbal skills. (3) A problem common to both disadvantaged children and the deaf children tested is the intrusion of anxiety into autonomous ego functions, so that practice necessary for the firm development of cognitive schemata is interfered with. (4) The clinical impulsivity secondary to these emotional pressures may perpetuate itself by interfering with cognitive decentration in time and space in relation to others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalChild Psychiatry & Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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