It’s official. Poor people really are stupid.
You all thought rich people had money because they had advantages and opportunities available to them that you did not. Now it seems that not only are these people considerably richer than yow, they are also considerably cleverer than you.
Researchers have discovered that having money worries significantly impedes your cognitive abilities, that is, people worrying about cash have less brain capacity available for being, well, brainy.
Scientists found that poorer people faced with a large, unexpected bill perform significantly worse in cognitive IQ tests than they would otherwise have done without the financial worry hanging over them. The difference in brain power was equivalent to upto 13 IQ points (where 100 is average), which is equivalent to the temporary mental impairment caused by the loss of a full night's sleep.
As part of the research, 400 shoppers in a New Jersey mall were asked to carry out standard cognitive tasks, but half had been asked a "teaser" question about how they would deal with an expensive car repair.
The poorer shoppers in this group performed significantly worse than the richer shoppers. They also did worse than the poorer members of the other group who were not worried about an expensive car repair, proving conclusively that that specific money worry, and not the trappings of wealth, which might include a better education, was the reason for poor people being stupid.
Another study tested Indian farmers just before and just after the annual harvest. They performed better, to the tune of 9 or 10 IQ points, after the harvest when they were technically ‘richer’ than they were before.
Eldar Shafir of Princeton University, who was part of the research team, said: "Previous views of poverty have blamed poverty on personal failings, or an environment that is not conducive to success. We're arguing that the lack of financial resources itself can lead to impaired cognitive function. The very condition of not having enough can actually be a cause of poverty."
We think the phrase he’s looking for is Catch 22. Whether the study shows correlation or causation, at least it’s another handy excuse for those so afflicted.