Childhood Poverty Might Have Implications Throughout Life

by Rukmani Krishna on  June 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
Researchers have explored the differences between the way the brain of a children and adult brain work to provide insights into how the mind and brain develop and change over time in a new study.
 Childhood Poverty Might Have Implications Throughout Life
Childhood Poverty Might Have Implications Throughout Life

For the study, before playing a drawing game, four- and five-year-old participants were told that "boys [girls] are really good at this game" or "there's a boy [girl] who is really good at this game".

Children in the category condition performed worse on the task regardless of whether the statement they heard referenced their own gender or the opposite gender.

The study authors suggest that referencing a social group's performance on a task can lead children to believe that they have little control over their own performance, causing them to worry and perform poorly.

Research has shown that infants start to demonstrate helpful behaviour towards other people around their first birthdays. Yet little is known about what motivates infants to help others.

Researchers investigated whether children helped people so that they could get 'credit' for being helpful or whether they were just helping because the person needed help.

Because the pupil dilation measurements, which have been shown to reflect emotional reactions to an event, were similar for infants who helped another person and infants who watched a person get helped by a third party, the researchers concluded that the children were motivated to help others because of genuine concern for the person in need.

Poverty in childhood can have implications throughout an individual's life, whether it's physiological problems from poor nutrition or psychological issues arising from the social implications of poverty.

Researchers have now demonstrated quantitatively that children who experience poverty from birth to age 9 tend to have an elevated allostatic load-a stress marker that incorporates physiological measurements associated with stress, such as heart rate-in their teenage years.

Previous studies have focused largely on the role of parenting and diminished cognitive enrichment, but this study shows that chronic physiological stress also could contribute to the problems impoverished children face later in life.

The study has been published in Psychological Science.

Source: ANI

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