It may be tough for us to say so, but recent psychological researches on children have had only one conclusion: the poorer, the clumsier. A new study has proven poor children have less developed brains after performing a series of MRI tests on young participants belonging to different social strata.
Poverty is a difficult sociopolitical condition forcing families and children to make great efforts in order to achieve financial stability. Recent studies indicate the problem could be a lot worse than it was initially believed, more specifically, that poverty could also be a biomedical problem preventing children form developing normal brains.
Experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have gathered and studied 400 cases of poor children. They were particularly interested in analyzing their brain development and structure; for that matter, participants were asked to take part in several MRI scans.
At the end of the study, researchers have noticed that many of these poor children had less developed brains and the only factor that could explain this difference was their poverty. Seth D. Pollak, the author of the study, explained that the differences were more noticeable in the frontal and temporal lobes, that is, the area where gray matter is usually located.
Gray matter, unlike white matter, is responsible for many of the activities linked to memorization, hearing, seeing, self-control and decision making processes. The MRI scans that researchers have recorded during the recent experiment show that poorer children have less gray matter.
Unfortunately, the situation does not get any better when poor children move in better neighborhoods. Once the brain development process has been disturbed, there is little that poor children can do to improve their brain activity.
The comparison between the brain development of poor children and middle-class children has further led to many other discoveries. According to researchers’ declaration, there is a 20 percent difference between participants belonging to poorer classes and their richer and, consequently, brighter colleagues.
A similarly significant difference, although slightly smaller, has been noticed between the brain development of poor children and those belonging to the “near-poor” categories.
The recent findings have triggered many questions on behalf of parents and educators. The majority of them ask themselves what they can do to help these children have better performances in tests. These questions will be answered by the future studies that scientists plan to conduct.
The findings of the recent research were published in the journal JAMA.
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