Working memory and social concerns

Posted: September 15, 2009

The relevance of executive functions continues to gain recognition as researchers discover the link between working memory and one of society’s most prevalent and destructive cycles. Recent research indicates that working memory deficiencies caused by stress may hold the answer to why children born into poverty remain in poverty as adults. An article published in The Economist discusses the implications of a study in which poor children demonstrated smaller working memory capacities than those of middle-class children. Further study, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, suggested the deficiency was the result of the large amount of stress caused by living in poverty. This may be the reason why children born in poverty tend to suffer both academically and professionally, thus remaining poor as adults.

Clearly, there is no one factor explaining such a complex social process as inheriting poverty, but this research adds a new strand to our thinking about large social issues. For Cogmed, so focused on improving people’s working memory, this of course feels like the truly big picture on working memory and working memory training.

Click below to read the full article: