How Does Poverty Affect the Brain?

Poor children often face a combination of deficits in language and selective attention skills, which is the ability to tune out unwanted distractions and focus on classroom activities.  Credit: BerSonnE/ThinkstockGrowing up in poverty can hinder childhood achievement and affect life trajectory. Researchers in fields, such as economics and social sciences, have extensively documented these differences, but can neuroscientists develop a more complete understanding of poverty’s reach by studying the brains of infants and young children? If neuroscience research can determine the roots of the disparities by looking inside the brain, we may be able to gain a unique perspective on interventions that lessen these differences. On October 18, a group of leading experts at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago held a roundtable discussion about how…

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