Growing up in Scotland: the impact of children' s early activities on cognitive development

This report uses data from the first three waves of the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS) to explore children’s cognitive ability. Assessments of children’s language development (using a naming vocabulary task) and problem solving skills (using a picture similarities tasks) were carried out at age 34 months.

This report attempts to explore a number of these different factors with the aim of answering the following questions: do children’s early activities have an influence on cognitive development in addition to socio-demographic factors? and do children’s early activities moderate the effect of socio demographic factors on cognitive development?

The report starts by introducing some measures of children’s activities, including what parents think of those activities. It also shows how activities vary across socio-demographic groups. It then illustrates how cognitive ability scores are associated with socio-demographic factors and with activities. The final stage of the analysis attempts to differentiate between the influences that socio-demographic factors and activities have on cognitive ability in order to answer the two questions above.