Brainy Science News from Cal

If you live in a poor neighborhood, where your parents ignore you and you’re generally understimulated by social interaction, don’t expect much from your prefrontal cortex. That’s the result of a new study from the UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, according to the Daily Californian. The study’s authors gave children from different socioeconomic backgrounds a series of problems to solve, and then measured their prefrontal cortex activity. Children of attentive, college-educated parents had nice, sparkly brains, but slums kids were dullsville in cortex country. The major exception was Cambodian children, who grew up poor but surrounded by family support and “strong group interactions.” So heads up, all you poor families: be sure to talk a lot at the dinner table.

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