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How modern amenities affect kids' cognitive development

This is Science Today. Childhood is changing around the world, thanks to the forces of modernization in various cultures. Mary Gauvain, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, co-led a study that found that children exposed to modern amenities, such as electricity, radios and televisions, performed better on tests that measured cognitive development. In fact, Gauvain says modernization affects all of children's daily activities in interesting ways.

Gauvain:        Well, what happens as cultures change is that these changes reorganize a whole lot of activities that people participate in every day. It reorganizes what they do, the kind of activities they do, it reorganizes how they communicate with one another, it reorganizes how they spend their time. And these affect how thinking skills develop. So, when we ask questions today like, gee, if children are spending a lot of time playing with technologies that have very short potentional focuses, will that have the consequence for cognitive development? These findings suggest that they absolutely would.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.