Here’s a study that won’t incite any type of controversy. Researchers from University of California, Berkeley found that kids from a lower socioeconomic class have, “brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult.” Really.
WSJ Wealth Report: For each child, the researchers measured brain activity while he or she was engaged in a simple task: watching a sequence of triangles projected on a screen. The subjects were instructed to click a button when a slightly skewed triangle flashed on the screen.
In some cases, children from low socioeconomic environments showed a lower response to the unexpected novel stimuli in the prefrontal cortex that was similar to the response of people who have had a portion of their frontal lobe destroyed by a stroke.
“Kids from lower socioeconomic levels show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult,” said Robert Knight, director of the institute and a UC Berkeley professor of psychology. “We found that kids are more likely to have a low response if they have low socioeconomic status, though not everyone who is poor has low frontal lobe response.”
So what does it mean? It means that children who grow up in highly privileged household don’t just have money advantages–they also develop brain advantages. The differences may become apparent in problem solving and school performance.
Here’s the problem with research like this: The ultimate conclusion is that some wealthy kids are exposed to more intellectually stimulating activities early on, while poorer children are not. The poorer children can become just as smart and responsive over time as long as they excersie their brains.
Isn’t this common sense? We’ve just read the Journal’s story, but if this is truly the conclusion of the report then we’re confused. Of course, we didn’t grow up rich, so that explains that.