Poverty and the Brain

by emma_anderson on October 3, 2016 - 10:06pm

When I saw this article it reminded me how much I loved learning about this topic. I found that poverty and the affects it has on your brain are astonishing and something not many people are educated on in schools nowadays. This article talked about brain patterns and the environment that you live in. Poverty usually attributes to conditions of violence, a tough homelife, pollution, unemployment, malnutrition, and abuse. All of these conditions affect different patterns or connections that are trying to be made in children’s minds. The article describes “gray matter”. “Gray matter” is where your brain makes decisions, memory, social or emotional behavior, and judgement are just a few of the very important things that can be affected. ( Contributors: Erika Hayasaki 8/25/16 7:10 AM) How Poverty Affects the Brain Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/02/how-poverty-affects-brains-493239.html .  Two reports showed that the link between “grey matter” and impoverished children was very small. This means that impoverished children would have a harder time making decisions and judgement calls. The children that are impoverished would most likely struggle more in learning. Children that live under the national poverty line which is $24,230 have even less gray matter than kids that are impoverished. Another study showed that kids who grew up in a lower income household had less brain surface than kids that grew up in an upper income household. This is not the only factor that determines the brain patterns and connections that are being made. Growing up in a lower income housing just fits one part of the pattern that somewhat defines poverty and brain patterns in children. This article is important because poverty affects the way kids learn. If we can do something about it now then it can help younger kids in the long run.

Reference: (Contributors: Erika Hayasaki 8/25/16 7:10 AM) How Poverty Affects the Brain. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/02/how-poverty-affects-brains-493239.html



When I first saw your title, I was intrigued by it. Because it connected together two really big ideas and I was wondering how could one affect the other, I read your subtitle, and immediately clicked your article. The first sentence of your post kept me reading, because you expressed your real interest for the topic and it made it even more interesting for me to read a passionate writer. This post brought me a new perspective on the issue of poverty, because you demonstrated that it not only meant less material goods, but also smaller ‘’grey matter’’, which influences a child’s intellectual development. Poverty has bigger implication then not having the latest iPhone. It shocked me how much of an income can have repercussion on a day to day life and your entire future when having to make big decisions. This is post like that and articles like your referred to that make me realize how lucky I am to have been raised in an environment that promoted a good education and a full development of my ‘’grey matter’’. When you explained how the environment in which you live has on influence on your brain development, it reminded me of the things we talked about in my anthropology class about where people have been educated has an impact on their view of ''race''. We saw that where you came from impacts how you perceive the world around you and may lead to engage in racist stereotypes without knowing it. This refers to the concept on implicit racisms. Such ideas have been in your mind because of your background and where you where born, just like the development of ‘’grey matter’’ that you spoke of, is influenced by your background.

This post reminded me of how everyone on this planet has different experiences that help shape who they are and what they do, which is sometimes easy to forget. Not thinking about why people react and behave the way they do, although it is not always an excuse, can lead to hasty judgements about a person or group of people. Explaining the differences in decision-making part of your brain, 'grey matter', in relation to the income level you were born into, provoked me to think about what other factors can affect your brain and its development and your behaviours and decision-making. If this environment of growing up in a low-income family with social as well financial hurdles to overcome each day can result in a change in the brain, wouldn't the social challenges faced by racial minorities result in some sort of change as well? In our class, we watched a ted talk about raising black children, and how their childhood in many ways is different from a white child. Like how the two groups of children are taught to behave around police. Perhaps this social environment affects how their brain behaves and makes decisions as well, like the children of low-income families.

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