It seems as if that not only do poorer people have it worse off financially, but that they also have some problems in terms of IQ, when compared to other people who have been much more privileged in life. It seems as the problems associated with poverty – collecting every single dollar you can find just to pay for rent, devising new ways to cut back on monthly expenses, etc. – take quite a toll on your brain by constantly taking up large amounts of mental energy.
This new research from Princeton University illustrated that the demands of always worrying if you have enough to make it to the end of the month can actually suppress cognitive functioning by up to 13 IQ points, which might lead to bad decisions that could potentially keep the cycle of poverty spinning round and round.
To this, they experimented in New Jersey, looking at 400 random people, split into two groups based on their salary levels. The experiment involved them having to think about different financial scenarios, while having to solve some common cognitive tasks.
In this experiment, it was shown that under low pressure financial scenarios, both of the groups performed similarly, but when the pressure was put up, those who were considered wealthier performed measurably better than those who had smaller bank accounts to draw from. In fact, many of them seemed unfazed.
The study shows the hidden challenges to the poor. It’s something that most people don’t really think about, but in reality, affects many. However, this actually goes way back to a principal idea: stress reduces brain functioning. This has been proven true quite a few times in various research studies.
However, what this means that those who are in poverty might find it even increasingly hard to climb out of the tough spot that they’re in due to the constant financial stress which affects the way they think, and how well they think.
The researchers suggest that the way aid works here in the US is quite flawed, and some of them need some tweaking, allowing the poor some extra guidance when receiving assistance, along with education plans that might get them out of their causes for distress. However, the researchers don’t believe that anything will actually be implemented anytime soon. Sad to say, things are going to remain sour for a while.