Author Topic: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function  (Read 978 times)

The Johnny

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Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function
« on: December 25, 2013, 12:49:20 am »


Mani, Mullainathan, Shafir & Zhao (2013), Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function, Science.
Several people nominated the graphs in this paper, the central hypothesis of which is that poverty directly worsens cognitive performance. The authors ran an experiment with 101 shoppers in a New Jersey mall. Before collecting demographic data that allowed the authors to categorize the shoppers as rich or poor, the shoppers were presented with a hypothetical scenario describing a financial problem: e.g. "Your car is having some trouble and requires $X to be fixed. You can pay in full, take a loan, or take a chance and forego the service at the moment... How would you go about making this decision?" Some shoppers were randomly assigned to the "easy" problem where the amount of money required was $150, others got the "hard" problem where they had to pay $1,500. The rationale is that poor and rich alike could probably manage to dig up $150 relatively easily, but figuring out how to find $1,500 at short notice would evoke more monetary concerns for the poor. The cognitive juggling this might necessitate, or the scarcity mindset it might engender, is what the authors argue impedes cognitive performance.

So, rich and poor alike got the 'easy' or 'hard' financial-problem prime. While mulling over how they'd solve this problem, they then had to complete Raven's matrices and cognitive control intelligence tasks. The graph describes the results: the rich and poor performed similarly on these intelligence tasks when mulling the 'easy' financial problem, but the poor performed much worse when both groups were digesting the 'hard' problem. Note also the elegant way significance levels are shown between and within groups.



i cant by fuck find the relevant thread, but there you go, the link also references other interesting 14 graphs of '10-'13

Reginald Ret

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Re: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2013, 01:03:38 am »
Cool, thanks.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2013, 02:14:47 am »
Not very surprising.

The poor are often accustomed to "desperation thinking".  It's not that they're not as intelligent, it's that they've become used to thinking in certain way.
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Re: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2013, 02:50:00 am »
Yeah, a constant state of "Oh fuck, how am I supposed to get that kind of money?" tends to crowd a lot of things out.  :x
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2013, 02:52:14 am »
Yeah, a constant state of "Oh fuck, how am I supposed to get that kind of money?" tends to crowd a lot of things out.  :x

Yep.

Or "I've had 3 raises.  They're going to fire me and get someone cheaper."
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Re: Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2013, 05:46:47 pm »
That's some very interesting research. There's a related study as well, I'll try to find it.
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