Environmental Input and Cognitive Growth: A Study Using Time-Period Comparisons



In this study, we examined the relation of input to cognitive growth in a single population of children. We studied 4 domains: Language, Spatial Operations, Concepts, and Associative Memory. Four groups of children drawn from the same population were tested in October of kindergarten, April of kindergarten, October of first grade, and April of first grade. These time points are 6 months apart, but they span periods that differ in amount of school input children receive. Much greater growth was found over time periods with greater amounts of school input (October to April) than over time periods with less school input (April to October) for Language, Spatial Operations, and Concepts, but not for Associative Memory. These findings suggest that amount of input is causally related to cognitive growth in particular domains.