Over the past four decades, researchers have established how poverty shapes lives, that low socioeconomic status is associated with poor academic performance, poor mental and physical health and other negative outcomes. Dr. Swain is part of a new generation of neuroscientists investigating how poverty shapes the brain.
The University of Michigan researcher will use a number of imaging technologies to compare the structure and function of brains of young adults from families with low socioeconomic status to those who are middle-class…
Studies suggest a number of areas of the brain may be affected by low socioeconomic status, including the circuitry involved in language, memory and in executive functions, a set of skills that help us focus on a problem and solve it.
But Amedeo D’Angiulli at Carleton University in Ottawa wants to steer his fellow researchers away from the idea that they should be looking for poverty-related deficits. At an Association for Psychological Science conference in Boston this week, he will urge them to think about any differences they find as potential strengths, not weaknesses.
“I would see this work informing the school system, to exploit some of the strengths that are in these children and introduce curriculum that instead of penalizing them would allow them to function,” he said.