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A study that claimed to show that poverty impedes cognitive ability has been debunked

Posted on 07-Jan-2014
Topics: Achievement Gap  Genetics and Intelligence  

A study that claimed to show that poverty impedes cognitive ability and was the subject of a popular Huffington Post article has been debunked.

Mani et al. (Research Articles, 30 August, p. 976) presented laboratory experiments that aimed to show that poverty-related worries impede cognitive functioning. A reanalysis without dichotomization of income fails to corroborate their findings and highlights spurious interactions between income and experimental manipulation due to ceiling effects caused by short and easy tests. This suggests that effects of financial worries are not limited to the poor.

Sources:

[1] "This Is Why Poor People's Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense", Linda Tirado, The Huffington Post, 22-Nov-2013

[2] Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function - Anandi Mani, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir, Jiaying Zhao

[3] Comment on “Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function” - Jelte M. Wicherts, Annemarie Zand Scholten

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