Sat, Oct 26, 2013 - Page 10 News List

Study finds poverty reduces brain power
研究顯示貧窮會減損腦力

Two Bedouin boys drag a sheep in the Israeli Negev desert on Oct. 15.
兩名貝多因男孩十月五日在以色列內蓋夫沙漠拖行一頭羊。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

Poverty and the all-consuming fretting that comes with it require so much mental energy that the poor have little brain power left to devote to other areas of life, according to the findings of an international study published recently.

The mental strain could be costing poor people up to 13 IQ (intelligence quotient) points and means they are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that amplify and perpetuate their financial woes, researchers found.

“Our results suggest that when you are poor, money is not the only thing in short supply. Cognitive capacity is also stretched thin,” said Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan, part of an international team that conducted the study.

Far from signaling that poor people are stupid, the results suggest those living on a tight budget have their effective brain power, or what the researchers called “mental bandwidth,” dramatically limited by the stress of making ends meet.

On average, someone weighed down by money woes showed a drop in cognitive function in one part of the study that was comparable to a 13 point dip in IQ, and similar to the performance deficit expected from someone who has missed a whole night’s sleep.(Reuters)

根據一項最近公布的國際研究發現,貧窮與耗盡心神為錢發愁用掉大部分精神氣力,導致窮人幾乎沒有剩餘的腦力來關注生活中其他的部分。

研究人員發現,精神壓力可能讓窮人的智商降低十三分,這表示他們更可能犯錯和做出錯誤決定,使得財務困境更為擴大和持久。

參與進行這項研究的國際團隊成員、哈佛大學經濟學者山地爾‧穆萊納坦表示:「研究結果顯示,人窮的時候缺的不止是錢,連認知能力也會連帶受損。」

研究結果非但未顯示窮人較笨,反而是發現生活窘迫者的有效腦力,或研究人員所謂的「心智頻寬」,會因為必須要讓收支平衡的壓力而大幅受限。

平均而言,承受財務壓力重擔者在其中一部分研究的認知功能表現會下降,相當於智商減少十三分,類似一整晚沒睡覺者的認知表現變差。(路透/翻譯:俞智敏)

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. amplify v.

擴大 (kuo4 da4)

例: The problem was amplified by his bad attitude.

(問題因他差勁的態度而擴大。)

2. budget n.

預算 (yu4 suan4)

例: She started her business on a tight budget and could not afford to overspend.

(她創業時預算非常有限,沒有超支的空間。)

3. weigh someone down v. phr.

造成某人的負擔 (zao4 cheng2 mou3 ren2 de5 fu4 dan1)

例: She was weighed down by the responsibility of looking after her sisters.

(她承受照顧姊妹的重擔而被壓得喘不過氣來。)


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