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Poverty Affects Brainpower

Duh? It's hard to think straight when you're poor, says a new study in the journal Science. Researchers conducted IQ tests on mall shoppers after introducing hypothetical stressors (“Your car is broken down and needs $1,500 in repairs”) and found that the cognitive ability of participants with money on their minds suffered. Another experiment showed farmers in India tested better after the sugarcane harvest, when their financial concerns were fewer. In all, scientists said poverty caused a drop of up to 13 IQ points. “Poverty is the equivalent of pulling an all-nighter,” said one of the study’s authors. “Picture yourself after an all-nighter. Being poor is like that every day.”