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How poverty affects the brain

 
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noneyons View Drop Down
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    Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:18pm
The Lasting Impacts of Poverty on the Brain
EMILY BADGEROCT 28, 201377 COMMENTS
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Poverty shapes people in some hard-wired ways that we're only now beginning to understand. Back in August, we wrote about some provocative new research that found that poverty imposes a kind of tax on the brain. It sucks up so much mental bandwidth – capacity spent wrestling with financial trade-offs, scarce resources, the gap between bills and income – that the poor have fewer cognitive resources left over to succeed at parenting, education, or work. Experiencing poverty is like knocking 13 points off your IQ as you try to navigate everything else. That's like living, perpetually, on a missed night of sleep.

That finding offered a glimpse of what poverty does to a person during a moment in time. Picture a mother trying to accomplish a single task (making dinner) while preoccupied with another (paying the rent on time). But scientists also suspect that poverty's disadvantages – and these moments – accumulate across time. Live in poverty for years, or even generations, and its effects grow more insidious. Live in poverty as a child, and it affects you as an adult, too.

Poor children had problems regulating their emotions as adults.

Some new research about the long-term arc of poverty, particularly on the brain, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and these findings offer a useful complement to the earlier study. In this new paper, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and the University of Denver followed children from the age of 9 through their early 20s.

Those who grew up poor later had impaired brain function as adults—a disadvantage researchers could literally see in the activity of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex on an fMRI scan. Children who were poor at age 9 had greater activity in the amygdala and less activity in the prefrontal cortex at age 24 during an experiment when they were asked to manage their emotions while looking at a series of negative photos. This is significant because the two regions of the brain play a critical role in how we detect threats and manage stress and emotions.

Poor children, in effect, had more problems regulating their emotions as adults (regardless of what their income status was at 24). These same patterns of "dysregulation" in the brain have been observed in people with depression, anxiety disorders, aggression and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Over the course of the longitudinal study – which included 49 rural, white children of varying incomes – these same poor children were also exposed to chronic sources of stress like violence and family turmoil, or crowded and low-quality housing. Those kinds of stressors, the researchers theorize, may help explain the link between income status in childhood and how well the brain functions later on. That theory, they write, is consistent with the idea that "early experiences of poverty become embedded within the organism, setting individuals on lifelong trajectories."

To add some of these findings together: Poverty taxes the ability of parents to do all kinds of things, including care for their children. And the developmental challenges that children face in a home full of stressed adults may well influence the adults that they, themselves, become
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FarraFace View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote FarraFace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:28pm
Interesting....
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.hott.pink. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote .hott.pink. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:31pm
Can you bold the important parts?
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noneyons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote noneyons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:34pm
I'm on my phone so ion feel like all the extra work lol. The entire article is a good read though imo
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.hott.pink. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote .hott.pink. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:36pm
Originally posted by noneyons noneyons wrote:

I'm on my phone so ion feel like all the extra work lol. The entire article is a good read though imo

I read it but I know not everyone will
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patternsandtexture View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote patternsandtexture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:44pm
Good article and wow, poverty is so destructive to the human mind, it's truly is a mental slavery and destructive to the human brain. There should be no reason why on earth in the 21st century poverty should ever be rampant, but I guess that's greedy capitalism for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote ModelessDiva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 2:03pm
Very interesting, thanks OP

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noneyons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote noneyons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 8:16pm
there's so much I want to say about this topic but my computer's in the shop and I hate typingon my phone. 

There is more info on the subject on Richard Dawkins website for anyone interested
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keepgrowing View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote keepgrowing Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 8:50pm
We learned this in class. Sad indeed. Children that are in poverty or people under unusual high amounts of stress as children have a harder time later in life and in school. Their ability to learn is affected literally. Not sure whether it is a defensive mechanism so you don't remember the stress as well or might be from inadequate stimulation causing less dendrites to be produced in the prefrontal cortex. But ya with the fMRI you can see the parts of the brain being stimulated. 
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