The impact of growing up in poverty on children’s brain development
Press release issued: 11 November 2013
In the UK, 1.6 million children live in severe poverty, but what are the effects of this on the brain’s development? Professor Sebastian Lipina, an expert in the field of poverty and neuroscience, will discuss how the neurocognitive function of a child’s brain is influenced by socioeconomic disadvantage and how this impacts on their long-term achievement at a talk [14 Nov] hosted by the University of Bristol.
Professor Lipina said: “Poverty can affect children in many different ways, these include their physical growth but also their mental and social abilities throughout their lifespan. There are multiple risk factors related to poverty that are present in nearly all the spaces in which they are growing up: their home, school, and community.
“At this talk I will be discussing how the child’s brain organises and reorganises itself during development and the latest insights into how brain research is opening up new avenues by which to investigate and understand how socioeconomic background impacts on a child’s emerging ability to learn.”
Dr Paul Howard Jones, Reader in Neuroscience and Education at Bristol’s Graduate School of Education, added: “Poverty is more than just a practical constraint on children’s education and early experience, it has a range of health impacts and these include brain development. Insights from neuroscience are providing new ways to understand what it means for a child to live in poverty.”
Professor Lipina is Co-Director of the Unit of Applied Neurobiology (UNA, CEMIC) in Buenos Aires, researcher at National Council of Research (CONICET) and Professor at the Universidad Nacional de San Martin. He is author of “Poverty and Brain Development During Childhood: An Approach From Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience” published by the American Psychological Association.