Arjen Stolk and colleagues at the Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behavior at Radboud University Nijmegen devised a creative two-player computer game for 5-year-old children, in which a child has to learn how to communicate the location of a hidden object without words with a player in a separate room.
The study, published in the journal Plos One, found the style in which the 5-year-olds tried to communicate changed depending on who the children thought their co-player was.
When they thought they were playing with a 2-year-old, they spent a great deal of time trying to patiently indicate the location of the object. When they were told they were playing with a child their own age, their communication style was not as labored.
The researchers noticed a difference in performance level for which day-care attendance turned out to be the strongest explanation. The more days children spent in day care, the better they were able to adjust their communication style, the study found.