The next time someone comes out with "Why don't the poors do X,Y,Z? They are stupidly keeping themselves poor" you can reply with this. It pairs excellently with that cracked article that was published a few years back. An excerpt:
Poverty shapes people in some hard-wired ways that we're only now beginning to understand. Back in August, we wrote about some provocative new research that found that poverty imposes a kind of tax on the brain. It sucks up so much mental bandwidth – capacity spent wrestling with financial trade-offs, scarce resources, the gap between bills and income – that the poor have fewer cognitive resources left over to succeed at parenting, education, or work. Experiencing poverty is like knocking 13 points off your IQ as you try to navigate everything else. That's like living, perpetually, on a missed night of sleep.
That finding offered a glimpse of what poverty does to a person during a moment in time. Picture a mother trying to accomplish a single task (making dinner) while preoccupied with another (paying the rent on time). But scientists also suspect that poverty's disadvantages – and these moments – accumulate across time. Live in poverty for years, or even generations, and its effects grow more insidious. Live in poverty as a child, and it affects you as an adult, too.
This is, of course, not to say that poor people are naturally stupider than rich people (some of the most brilliant folks I know- including my parents) were poor for much of their lifetime and still struggle with money. It just goes to underline how freedom from money worries is a huge huge privilege. I know when I got my first $12/hour job I bought a latte at Starbucks and sat and nearly wept because my brain was finally quiet. I could enjoy my coffee without worrying that it would make me short on rent. I could sit and rest and not feel guilty for resting when I should be out looking for work.
So go forth, GT! Share the science!! It probably won't change closed minds, but at least you tried.