“Brainwidth”

How Poverty Taxes the Brain

In a series of experiments run by researchers at Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Warwick, low-income people who were primed to think about financial problems performed poorly on a series of cognition tests, saddled with a mental load that was the equivalent of losing an entire night’s sleep. Put another way, the condition of poverty imposed a mental burden akin to losing 13 IQ points, or comparable to the cognitive difference that’s been observed between chronic alcoholics and normal adults.

The finding further undercuts the theory that poor people, through inherent weakness, are responsible for their own poverty — or that they ought to be able to lift themselves out of it with enough effort. This research suggests that the reality of poverty actually makes it harder to execute fundamental life skills. Being poor means, as the authors write, “coping with not just a shortfall of money, but also with a concurrent shortfall of cognitive resources.”

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

It takes science to explain what any person with sufficient verbal skills touched by poverty could have told them.

This is a fundamental flaw of some science. How many damn “anecdotes” does it take to make something rise to the level of requiring actual study?

And they’re not done yet. There are types of poverty too. This nation wasn’t founded by millionaires. The majority of people were literally “dirt poor” (didn’t even own dirt!). Yet they rose. Why? That’s what they need to study next. And as soon as possible.

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