Friday, July 19, 2024


How socioeconomic background shapes brain’s response to reward

February 8, 2024 9:57 AM IST

Did you know that where you grow up can change how your brain reacts to winning? MIT neuroscientists have found that your family background can change how your brain reacts to good things happening to you.

In a game of rewards with kids aged 12 to 14, researchers used brain scans to peek inside their heads. What they saw was fascinating: when richer kids scored some cash, their brains lit up like a fireworks show in the striatum region. That’s the part of the brain that screams, “Yeah, I nailed it!” when something awesome happens. But for kids from less wealthy families, their brain fireworks were a bit dimmer when it came to winning money.

It’s like the brain’s joy buzzer is set on a lower volume for kids from poorer families. This could mean they don’t get as hyped about rewards compared to their wealthier peers.

And here’s the kicker: when rewards were flowing, all the kids were quick to react in the game. But when the rewards dried up a bit, the richer kids stayed cool and didn’t let it slow them down. They were all like, ” Hey, fewer rewards, no problem!” Meanwhile, the not-so-rich kids took a beat longer to respond, maybe because they were savoring the win or plotting their next move.

So why the difference? Scientists think it’s all about the environment these kids grow up in. If you’re used to swimming in a pool of rewards, your brain might expect good vibes all the time. But if rewards are rare, your brain might not get as jazzed up.

But here’s the real deal: this study isn’t just about brains and prizes; it’s about how our backgrounds shape our thoughts and feelings. Kids from less wealthy families might struggle more with focus and drive, which can impact their success in school and overall happiness.

Understanding how our backgrounds shape our brains can help scientists figure out ways to give all kids a fair shot at success, no matter where they come from.

By Ranu Jain

Copyright © 2024 DD India. All rights reserved

Visitors: 1491366

Last updated on: 19th July 2024