Data visualizations highlight the surprising connections between income and brain structure skills.
First, it is essential to define the problem: in what specific ways does poverty impact brain function? To address this question, Noble recruited some 150 children from various socioeconomic backgrounds and used standard psychological testing methods to evaluate their abilities in several cognitive areas associated with particular parts of the brain. As outlined in the graphs below, the relationships are clear, especially in terms of language
While the data represented above are fairly convincing, they are also incomplete. To demonstrate the physical effects of poverty on the brain, we must examine the organ itself. To this end, Noble’s lab scanned the brains of about 1,100 children and adolescents, and found clear structural differences based on family income. And remarkably, their results showed that those children falling on the poorer end of the lowest income bracket suffer exponentially severe losses in brain development.
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