By Bryce Covert
on August 30, 2013
The mental strain of living in poverty and thinking constantly about tight finances can drop a person’s IQ by as much as 13 percent, or about the equivalent of losing a night of sleep, according to a new study. It consumes so much mental energy that there is often little room to think about anything else, which leaves low-income people more susceptible to bad decisions.
One of the study’s authors, Harvard economist Sandhil Mullainathan, told the Washington Post, “Poverty is the equivalent of pulling an all-nighter. Picture yourself after an all-nighter. Being poor is like that every day.”
The researchers came to this conclusion after conducting two separate experiments. The first gave low- and moderate-income shoppers at a mall in New Jersey a number of tests that measure IQ and impulse control, but half of the…
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