Narrator: This is Science Today. Children who have more modern resources perform better in some areas of cognitive functioning. Mary Gauvain, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, co-led a study that collected data from the late 1970s focusing on children in Belize, Kenya, Nepal and the American Samoa.
Gauvain: Although these data were several decades old, they provided a unique opportunity to look at cultures that at that time, varied in these modern amenities. And interestingly enough, it's harder to find such distinct variations today and it's harder to find cultures that don't have any contact with one another.
Narrator: Children who lived in households with modern amenities, such as electricity, radios and televisions, did better on tests measuring cognitive function and engaged in more complex play activities.
Gauvain: What we're trying to draw attention to is that people should really appreciate that cognitive development is reflective of the everyday practices and activities and skills that children engage in.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.