Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby Tama on Mon 13/Apr/09 4:20pm

Fascinating...

http://www.economist.com/science/displa ... d=13403177 wrote:How poverty passes from generation to generation is now becoming
clearer. The answer lies in the effect of stress on two particular
parts of the brain

THAT the children of the poor underachieve in later life, and thus
remain poor themselves, is one of the enduring problems of society.
Sociologists have studied and described it. Socialists have tried to
abolish it by dictatorship and central planning. Liberals have
preferred democracy and opportunity. But nobody has truly understood
what causes it. Until, perhaps, now.

The crucial breakthrough was made three years ago, when Martha Farah of
the University of Pennsylvania showed that the working memories of
children who have been raised in poverty have smaller capacities than
those of middle-class children. Working memory is the ability to hold
bits of information in the brain for current use--the digits of a phone
number, for example. It is crucial for comprehending languages, for
reading and for solving problems. Entry into the working memory is also
a prerequisite for something to be learnt permanently as part of
declarative memory--the stuff a person knows explicitly, like the dates
of famous battles, rather than what he knows implicitly, like how to
ride a bicycle.

...

That stress, and stress alone, is responsible for damaging the working
memories of poor children thus looks like a strong hypothesis. It is
also backed up by work done on both people and laboratory animals,
which shows that stress changes the activity of neurotransmitters, the
chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another in the
brain. Stress also suppresses the generation of new nerve cells in the
brain, and causes the "remodelling" of existing ones. Most
significantly of all, it shrinks the volume of the prefrontal cortex
and the hippocampus. These are the parts of the brain most closely
associated with working memory.

Children with stressed lives, then, find it harder to learn. Put
pejoratively, they are stupider. It is not surprising that they do less
well at school, end up poor as adults and often visit the same
circumstances on their own children.

Dr Evans's and Dr Schamberg's study does not examine the nature of the
stress that the children of the poor are exposed to, but it is now well
established that poor adults live stressful lives, and not just for the
obvious reason that poverty brings uncertainty about the future. The
main reason poor people are stressed is that they are at the bottom of
the social heap as well as the financial one.
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby SlackBoy on Mon 13/Apr/09 4:22pm

sweet, we can blame the parents
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby shmoodiver on Mon 13/Apr/09 4:28pm

I had a nice upbringing by corporate hippies and I are stoopid. I love lamp
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby ants06 on Mon 13/Apr/09 4:32pm

shmoodiver wrote:I had a nice upbringing by corporate hippies and I are stoopid. I love lamp


Hmmm "hippies" there be the problem :p
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby wgtngrl on Mon 13/Apr/09 4:34pm

Correlation does not = causality.
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby shmoodiver on Mon 13/Apr/09 4:36pm

maybe i just stoopid today, brane is broken.
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby UnimatrixZero on Mon 13/Apr/09 5:35pm

wgtngrl wrote:Correlation does not = causality.


But it IS a necessary prerequisit :)
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby RussS on Mon 13/Apr/09 6:00pm

Some people are just born stupid :hmmm: :satan:
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby CrustyMTB on Mon 13/Apr/09 8:26pm

Where do they pick up the correlation between wealth and good parenting? The people I grew up with who had the richest parents are amongst the most fucked up.

There is also no correlation (in my experience) between wealth and intellegence, I have worked for some stunningly stupid people worth 10's of millions, I also know a few people who are waaaaaaay smarter than I (and therefore WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY smater than you) who are skint and happy with it...

Some assumptions need challenging... :sneaky:
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby j2hyde on Tue 14/Apr/09 12:15am

I'm afraid you're all wrong. Here we have a scientist who has done some science and there is a consensus amongst the type of scientists to do this kind of science that holds that this theory is 100% correct. Therefore they must be absouloutly correct and any attempt to deny or be skeptical of this undisputable fact is nothing more than a thinly veiled facist conspiricy.

In light of these facts we should immediatly redesign our socieity and economy to save the planet from stupid kids. And anyone that says otherwise is a facist. :)
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby Fraser on Tue 14/Apr/09 5:52am

This is why they made it illegal to sleep outside on top of a refrigerator in Pennsylvania. :music:
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby FLATULENTFRIEND on Tue 14/Apr/09 6:20am

They need to explain their definition of 'stress' - good stressors or bad?

We all need stress in our lives...that is one of the reasons I keep coming back to VORB :p
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby Bigfoot on Tue 14/Apr/09 6:49am

I am sure they had definitions in their paper.
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby wachtourak on Tue 14/Apr/09 7:03am

Flatulentfriend must have had a really stressful childhood.
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Re: Does A Stressful Childhood Make You Stupider?

Postby shmoodiver on Tue 14/Apr/09 7:14am

lol
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