The Washington Post (8/30, Dennis) reports that, according to a study (8/30) published Aug. 30 in the journal Science, “poverty consumes so much mental energy that people struggling to make ends meet often have little brainpower left for anything else, leaving them more susceptible to bad decisions” that just make their plight worse.
The AP (8/30, Borenstein) reports that after administering intelligence tests to 400 New Jersey shoppers and to 464 farmers in India, researchers found that individuals worried “about having enough money to pay their bills tend to lose temporarily the equivalent of 13 IQ points.”
The Huffington Post UK (8/29) reports that people “overwhelmed with worries about rent, feeding and clothing children, and paying household bills can suffer a genuine mental handicap,” which “in turn may lead to poor decisions, such as racking up debt” and making matters worse. One of the study authors suggested that services aimed at helping the poor “should take account of the mental effect of poverty” by making it easier for people to get assistance.
— “Poverty strains cognitive abilities, opening door for bad decision-making, new study finds, “Brady Dennis, The Washington Post, August 29, 2013.