How money worries affect our intelligence
Researchers at Princeton, Harward and the University of Warwick ran a series of experiments and their findings were that low-income people who were primed to think of financial problems performed poorly on a series of cognition tests,saddled with a mental load which was the equivalent of losing a full nights sleep.
The condition of poverty imposed a mental burden on that person akin to losing 13 IQ points….this was a difference seen between chronic alcoholics and normal adults.
This debunks the theory that poor people, through weakness are responsible for their own poverty and should be able to lift themselves out of poverty with enough effort.
- The drop in intelligence means these people are more likely to make bad decisions, such as taking on too much debt, which perpetuate financial woes
- But when they had their financial burdens removed, their intelligence returned to the same levels as higher earners
- Researchers say that far from low intellect resulting in reduced pay, it is our financial woes that render us less clever
That’s not to say that poor people are less intelligent than others. What we show is that the same person experiencing poverty suffers a cognitive deficit as opposed to when they’re not experiencing poverty.
‘It’s also wrong to suggest that someone’s cognitive capacity has gotten smaller because they’re poor. In fact, what happens is that your effective capacity gets smaller, because you have all these other things on your mind, you have less mind to give to everything else.’ Individuals with financial worries are like a computer that has slowed down because it is carrying out more than one function.