10/28/2013 11:07 am ET Updated Dec 28, 2013

The Lasting Impacts Of Poverty On The Brain


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.

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