Contemporary evidence and implications of neuroscientific studies on childhood poverty

Evidence supports the notion that poverty influences cognitive development through the modulation of different individual and environmental factors. The first aim of this presentation is to offer a summary of the contemporary evidence of neuroscientific studies of childhood poverty, in terms of the associations identified between different forms of poverty and changes in the nervous system with focus in self-regulatory processes, and the mediation of such associations by individual and contextual factors. Likewise, social and policy implications of such evidence will be addressed, considering the complexity of the design, implementation and evaluation processes that these efforts involve.

Sebastián J. Lipina.jpg
Sebastián J. Lipina, PhD, Unidad de Neurobiología Aplicada (UNA, CEMIC-CONICET) Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Although the available evidence supports the notion that emerged from the ECD sector about the importance of investing resources to promote different aspects of child development from early stages of development, its correlational and preliminary nature requires caution in terms of:

(1) holding notions about causal mechanisms that work as unique determinants of development

(2) reduce the explanation of complex phenomena that involve different levels of organization to only one of them (e.g., neural or social)

(3) disseminate conceptual errors and over-generalizations of neurobiological phenomena.

Finally, some of the future directions that could expand opportunities for scientific-political transfer in the context of such complexity will be approach.


NUNU (the network for developmental and neuroscience in education research)