A team of researchers led by Kimberly Noble of Columbia University studied how socioeconomic status affects a growing brain. Controlling for factors like age, gender and genetic background, they analysed brain scans of around 1,100 children for possible connections with socioeconomic factors such as income.

Children in the lowest income bracket had up to 6% less brain surface area than children from high-income families. At the lowest end of the income spectrum, small increases in family earnings could lead to large increases in children’s brain surface area. At the middle and upper income levels, though, the money-brain curve flattened: similarly increases in family earnings were associated with smaller differences in surface area.

The researchers suggest that wealthier parents are able to afford more tools to nurture the developing brains of their children: they can afford healthier foods or educational games and videos or better child care, and can move to neighborhoods less exposed to environmental pollutants or toxins.

Further details here.

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