I suppose the fact that children from lower-income families don’t receive the same amount of high-quality cerebral stimulus as their high-income counterparts do is no big surprise. But what was somewhat shocking to me was the extent to which this was true. Did you know these poorer children exhibit prefrontal cortex brain activity similar to that of patients who have suffered from a stroke or experienced head trauma?

These images show how children with a mean family income of $97K compared to children living in a place with a $27K household income. Both sets of children were given the same simple visual problem-solving exam and tasked to determine triangle sizes.

Well, it appears those spoiled brats with their tae kwon do lessons, hours of webkinz technology, and Kingergarten SAT prep classes have won out again.

However, is it possible that richer kids just have an advantage because they are familiar with the concept of the test through hours spent playing video games or using a home computer? These luxuries were probably not available to the poorer child set.

I’m not sure I totally agree with these results because the testing method appears to be biased in favor or the rich kids’ performance. Maybe we should turn the tables and give them both a test on how to cheaply sneak into movie theaters or steal their classmates’ lunch money? These are real world skills, people! Perhaps they don’t fit the mold for your Harvard Business School student model, but maybe one day they could at least be some slick hedge fund manager somewhere.

UC Berkeley News: EEGs Show Differences Between Poor And Rich Kids, December 2, 2008 via WealthReport