Tag Archives: Study: Poverty Impacts Brain Function

Study: Poverty Impacts Brain Function

By Free Radical 

brain1[1]Several studies have shown how structural racism and economic inequality can create a cyclical path for families trying to escape poverty. A recent piece in The Atlantic shows that economically disadvantaged people not only have to contend with broader socioeconomic challenges, but they also have to “free their mind.”

The Atlantic cites research conducted by Economic Mobility Pathways, or EMPath, which shows that poverty actually can change the brain. It explains that the pre-frontal cortex, which sits at the front of the brain, “handles problem-solving, goal-setting, and task-execution.” The study goes on to say that this portion of the brain works with the limbic system, located in the skull’s center, and “processes emotions and triggers emotional responses, in part because of its storage of long-term memory.”

Large amounts of stress, such as that experienced by impoverished people, result in the limbic system “constantly sending fear and stress