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Poverty mars genetic potential of children


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According to a recent study by the University of Texas growing up in a poor family may suppress a child’s genetic potential to excel cognitively.

According to the study, half of the gains that economically sound children show on tests of mental ability between 10 months and 2 years of age, genes are to be held responsible for it.

But children from humble backgrounds show almost no improvements on aspects that are genes driven or for which genes should be held responsible for.

The research also showed that wealthy kids are more confident and perform smartly when compared to their peers from poorer economic background.

The test, used to measure early cognitive ability, asked children to perform such tasks as pulling a string to ring a bell, putting three cubes in a cup and matching pictures.

At 10 months, there was no difference in how the children from different socioeconomic backgrounds performed. But by two years, children from high socioeconomic background scored significantly higher than those from poor backgrounds.

In general, the two-year-olds from poorer families performed very similarly to one another. That was true among both fraternal and identical twins, suggesting that genetic similarity was unrelated to similarities in cognitive ability. Instead, their environments determine their cognitive success.

For children from poorer homes, genetic influences on changes in cognitive ability were close to zero. For children from wealthier homes, genes accounted for about half of the variation in cognitive changes.

Social and economic disparity is responsible for the different kind of developments and thus a lot of potential is lost of kids from economically weaker section.

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 Other Articles by d-sector Team in
Global Development  > Global Economy > Inequality and Poverty

Poverty in India has reduced, claims UN report
Monday, July 11, 2011


Growing India fails to improve its HDI ranking
Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Does poverty affect psychology?
Monday, August 30, 2010


Oxford and UNDP devise a new method to measure poverty
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

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