Poorer children ‘have smaller brains’, researchers say

The BBC is reporting new research that suggests children with richer parents have bigger brains than their poorer counterparts…

…In what is claimed to be the biggest study of its kind, scientists from the University of Southern California tested 1,099 typically developing people – male and female – aged between three and 20.

They measured brain surface area by scans and conducted cognitive tests, and then compared the results with the income levels of the parents.

They corrected for other potential influences on brain structure, such as inherited characteristics.

Their research is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience…

Report co-author Elizabeth Sowell said: “The most important point we want to convey is not, ‘If you are poor, your brain will be smaller, and there is nothing that can be done about it’ – that is absolutely not the message.

“It seems reasonable to speculate that resources afforded by the more affluent, such as nutrition, childcare, schools, help ‘wire’ the brain through development,” she said.

“It is not too late to think about how to impact resources that enrich the developmental environment that in turn help the brain wire itself together.”


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Categories: Research.


  1. Another example of brain ‘plasticity’ and further evidence that ‘intelligence’ is not determined only by the genes.
    Intelligence is generated through experiences, discussions, challenges and self-control activities.
    On average, children from poor backgrounds do not lack these stimulations because of lack of money.  Their parents lack money because their parents failed to develop their brains and so they cannot access more highly-paid employment.

  2. juliemjenkins

    SchoolsImprove symphily No. Studies like this are not helpful. They’re harmful and further stigmatize. We know poverty sucks, time to act

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