How poverty hampers cognitive development

A young person's cognitive development can be hampered through persistent poverty, a new study has shown. Published by the Institute of Education at the University of London, the research found seven-year-olds from the poorest backgrounds tend to perform significantly worse in ability assessments than their more affluent peers.

Professor Andy Dickerson and Dr Gurleen Popli of the University of Sheffield discovered that when test scores are ranked on a scale of zero to 100, children who have been raised in poverty since infancy are likely to achieve levels around ten marks beneath otherwise similar kids whose families are not impacted by such financial issues.

The researchers stated: "Low income has a two-fold effect on children's ability - it has an effect on children regardless of anything their parents do, but it also has an impact on parenting itself."

They observed the findings also support the idea that parenting is highly important with regard to a youngster's cognitive development.

Professor Susan Hallam CPsychol from the University of London Insitute of Education said:  “Commenting as Chair of the Psychology of the Society’s Education Section, it is fair to say that many psychologists will be interested in this research. The findings should also be considered by policy makers as they shape future frameworks for society”.