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Scientific Assurances: Lack of Money Affects Our Intelligence

Scientific Assurances: Lack of Money Affects Our Intelligence

Researchers at Princeton University recently published a surprising study: they showed that poverty is so mentally stressful that poor people have little brain capacity to devote to other areas of their lives.

For this reason, economically disadvantaged people are more likely to make wrong decisions that can exacerbate – and even exacerbate – their financial problems, in a sort of snowballing situation.

Scientists are proposing something very surprising: the problem of poverty is very serious because people, little by little, are losing their chances of getting out of it. This is because her cognitive function is impaired due to the mental efforts she puts in looking for ways to pay the bills and meet her basic needs. For this reason, she has fewer mental resources to invest in issues related to her education or professional improvement.

How was the study done?

(Source: Pexes)

The study was based on a series of experiments that found that financial concerns profoundly affect an individual’s ability to do simple logical thinking. According to what was found, a person without money tends to lower his IQ by 13 points, which is equivalent to the effect on the brain as a result of a night without sleep.

On the other hand, when the same people were not dealing with financial problems, they did well in the tests. “These stresses create a prominent concern in the mind and attract mental resources to the problem itself. This means that we cannot focus on other things in life that need our attention,” explained Jiaying Zhao, one of the research authors.

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Other studies on the effects of poverty

(Source: Pexes)(Source: Pexes)

But it’s not the first time science has come to the conclusion that poverty impairs brain function. In 2013, behavioral scientist Eldar Shaffer and economist Sendel Malainata released a book called Scarcity – a new way of thinking about the lack of resources in the lives of people and organizations.

At work, they use the expression “mental bandwidth” to explain the effect of excessive anxiety on the debt-burdened brain. They compare the brain to a computer with several programs open at the same time: its performance is necessarily poor.

“Mental bandwidth is very limited. Often you need to focus on the urgency of the present moment and do it efficiently: it solves the problem. But if this movement happens all the time it will never be enough. It will neglect other areas of life,” Shaffer explained in an interview with BBC.

It is a logic similar to that developed in the book Fast and slow: two ways of thinking, Written by Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate in Economics. He propagated in the book the idea that decision-making in cases of scarcity leads to haste and poor judgment.

All of these findings are useful for elucidating the harmful mechanisms of poverty and social inequality. What is observed is that when a person falls into a cycle of poverty, it becomes increasingly difficult to get out of it. In this way it can be shown that economic problems go far beyond the irresponsibility of those who contracted the debts, as many are inclined to believe.

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