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    Using neurocomputational modelling to investigate mechanisms underlying socio-economic status effects on cognitive and brain development

    Thomas, Michael S.C. (2020) Using neurocomputational modelling to investigate mechanisms underlying socio-economic status effects on cognitive and brain development. In: Stevens, C. and Pakulak, E. and Soledad Segretin, M. and Lipina, S. (eds.) Neuroscientific Perspectives on Poverty. Erice, Italy: International Mind, Brain and Education School, Ettore Majorana Foundations and Center for Scientific Culture, pp. 234-266. ISBN 9789878667362.

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    Abstract

    Poverty is about people's lives. Inequality, one of its major drivers, is a social issue. Cognitive neuroscientists have become increasingly interested in how being raised in poverty impacts children's brain and cognitive development. But how can it be useful to reduce people to instances of individual brain function? Poverty is the result of social structures and therefore a focus on neuroscience would appear to be a distraction. This chapter argues that while this is largely true, neuroscience can contribute in a more modest way, with its focus on causal mechanisms. If the biological causal pathways of the effects of differences in socioeconomic status (SES) are identified, this can help to target the most efficient interventions to alleviate the downstream effects of poverty on brain and cognition. Such interventions offer short- term measures, while the longer-term social goal of reducing poverty can be pursued. The chapter outlines one methodology within cognitive neuroscience to investigate the mechanisms underlying SES effects on brain and cognition: multi-level neurocomputational models of cognitive development. Several example results are described which clarify causal mechanisms that explain some influential empirical findings in the field.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Educational Neuroscience, Centre for
    Depositing User: Michael Thomas
    Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 10:07
    Last Modified: 10 Apr 2021 22:10
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/43129

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