[PS-2.18] Presbycusis and Theory of the Mind

Valero-Garcia, J. 1 , Iglesias, L. 1 & Silvestre, N. 2

1 FPCEE Blanquerna. Universitat Ramon Llull
2 Facultat Psicologia. Universitat Autonoma Barcelona

The competencies included in the Theory of Mind construct (ToM) are fundamental abilities for human coexistence throughout lifespan, especially in old age. During this period of life, some studies show a decline in the development of ToM (Sullivan et al., 2004), while some others show those same competencies preserved (Carey, 2015). However, there is a significant ignorance about how presbycusis -age-related hearing loss- can affect ToM.

This research explores the relationships between presbycusis and some dimensions of ToM. A preliminary study was carried out with a sample of 12 individuals (average age of 82.5 years), affected by presbycusis (binaural average hearing loss of 53.0 dBHL). Different tests adapted from Happé et al. (1998) on ToM, along with a cognitive assessment with the MoCA screening test (Nasreddine et al., 2005) were administered.

First data pretends to establish in which way presbycusis influences the ToM abilities, taking into account that hearing loss usually affects linguistic competence and social experience, as well as other higher functions widely related to ToM.