Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function

The poor often behave in less capable ways, which can further perpetuate poverty. We hypothesize that poverty directly impedes cognitive function and present two studies that test this hypothesis. First, we experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants. Second, we examined the cognitive function of farmers over the planting cycle. We found that the same farmer shows diminished cognitive performance before harvest, when poor, as compared with after harvest, when rich. This cannot be explained by differences in time available, nutrition, or work effort. Nor can it be explained with stress: Although farmers do show more stress before harvest, that does not account for diminished cognitive performance. Instead, it appears that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity. We suggest that this is because poverty-related concerns consume mental resources, leaving less for other tasks. These data provide a previously unexamined perspective and help explain a spectrum of behaviors among the poor. We discuss some implications for poverty policy.

Poverty is a catch-22—it lowers IQ but IQ is needed to escape poverty. What is the alternative? Well, it helps to start with a large IQ and a mind filled with education. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches Christ gets people out of poverty—once converted to the gospel people are better able to get themselves out of poverty.—Robert John Stevens

The Scarcity Mindset: What happens when you have too little

When you’re experiencing scarcity, your mind focuses on whatever it lacks,” he says. If you’re lonely and want to make someone interested in you, the last thing you should think about is, “I want this person to like me.” But lonely people can’t help but focus on that, and it makes them uninteresting to talk to, so it backfires.

A Harvard study from last year showed that the grating effects of poverty can create the equivalent effect of pulling an all-nighter every night, and drop IQ by as much as 13 points.

Multitasking Damages Your Brain And Career, New Studies Suggest

by Robert John Stevens, October 30, 2014

Contrast that research against yesterday’s article in Deseret News, ‘The time is right’ for a digital conversion, educators say.

Certainly Utah isn’t in business to help lower IQs.

Wrote Dr. Barry Lunt at BYU, “This research is becoming more well known, but getting students to believe it is another problem—they all think they can do it well, and none of them are willing to consider that it could be damaging their ability to study and focus.”

Who benefits? Hardware and software vendors.

Have you tried teaching students while they are using their electronic devices?—It is very frustrating because their attention is divided. Some are browsing the web, communicating with friends and even playing games.

Parents, wake up and demand schools take computers out of the classroom, except those classes that teach programming and vital computer software or hardware skills.