In a report by Mail Online, MRI scans show that pupils from richer backgrounds have thicker cortexes, the part of the brain linked with visual perception and knowledge storage, than poorer students. While previous studies have shown that wealthier pupils’ brains develop differently, this is the first study to link that with with higher test scores.
Professor of brain and cognitive sciences John Gabrieli at Massachusetts Institute of Technology said: ‘Just as you would expect, there’s a real cost to not living in a supportive environment.
‘We can see it not only in test scores, in educational attainment, but within the brains of these children.
‘To me, it’s a call to action. You want to boost the opportunities for those for whom it doesn’t come easily in their environment.’
Richer pupils do better at school because they have more developed brains, according to research.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involved 58 pupils aged 12 or 13, of which 23 came from poorer backgrounds an were on free school lunches.
Their scores in school tests were compared with brain scans of a region known as the cortex, key to functions such as thought, language, sensory perception, and motor command.
Using MRI scans, scientists discovered differences in the thickness of parts of the cortex in the temporal and occipital lobes, whose primary roles are in vision and storing knowledge.
Those differences correlated to differences in both test scores and family income.
Previous studies have also shown brain differences associated with income, but did not link those differences to academic achievement.
Further research aims to learn more about what types of educational programmes might help to close the achievement gap, and if possible, investigate whether these interventions also influence brain anatomy.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk