There has been a lot of media attention over the past few days about a new study suggesting that the brains of low-income children are smaller than those of more affluent kids.

Here’s an excerpt from one report about the study. It’s from the BBC, and is titled Poorer children ‘have smaller brains’, researchers say:


New brain science shows poor kids have smaller brains than affluent kids is a Washington Post story about the same study.

Coincidentally, Researchers from MIT and Harvard have just announced similar results from a much smaller study.

I have mixed feelings about this kind of research. On one hand, it might provide a little more “ammunition” to get provide more resources to schools and families in low-income communities. On the other hand, it also gives an opening to people like Charles Murray to try to manipulate these kinds of results into the idea that intelligence islargely genetically-based (as he does in the Post article about the study).

Poor Children May Have Smaller Brains Than Rich Children. Does That Tell Us Anything? is from Slate.

I’m all for talking with students about ways they can “grow” their brain, and I’m all for talking with them about some of the challenges that scientists have found all teens face in their brain development, but I don’t see how discussing the kind of findings in these two studies would do anything but demoralize many students.

Let me know what you think.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.