This article in the Review of Development Economics, available presents the results of a quantitative analysis that measured the relationship between psychosocial status at the age of 8, and the development of cognitive skills four years later. The data were taken from 700 Peruvian children who completed the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and the Raven's Progressive Matrices. These two tests provided scores for cognitive skill achievement. Psychosocial status was expressed by a measure created to indicate perceptions of respect from others.
The results from this study provide important findings that concern the development of cognitive skills during the transition to middle childhood. The findings indicate that children who perceive themselves as less respected in their local communities accumulate fewer cognitive skills by the age of 12 than those who perceived themselves as more respected. The data appear to suggest that there is a direct relationship between respect and cognitive outcomes in later life. However, the inverse does not appear to be true. Cognitive skills do not appear to enhance the acquisition of perceptions of respect – at least for this sample, during this phase of life. What is clear is that perceptions of respect have an important role to play in the accumulation of cognitive skills during middle childhood. The authors conclude by noting that there is still little understanding of how and why some children develop perceptions of respect within in their communities and others do not. This is an area for further research.
Please note that this research was previously published as a Young Lives working paper, which is available as a pdf above.