Human brain development occurs within a socioeconomic context and childhood socioeconomic status (SES) influences neural development — particularly of the systems that subserve language and executive function. Research in humans and in animal models has implicated prenatal factors, parent–child interactions and cognitive stimulation in the home environment in the effects of SES on neural development. These findings provide a unique opportunity for understanding how environmental factors can lead to individual differences in brain development, and for improving the programmes and policies that are designed to alleviate SES-related disparities in mental health and academic achievement.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $4.92 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Adler, N. E. & Rehkopf, D. F. US disparities in health: descriptions, causes and mechanisms. Annu. Rev. Public Health 29, 235–252 (2008).
Bradley, R. H. & Corwyn, R. F. Socioeconomic status and child development. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 53, 371–399 (2002).
Brooks-Gunn, J. & Duncan, G. J. The effects of poverty on children. Future Child 7, 55–71 (1997).
Conger, R. D. & Donnellan, M. B. An interactionist perspective on the socioeconomic context of human development. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 58, 157–199 (2007).
Evans, G. W. The environment of childhood poverty. Am. Psychol. 59, 77–92 (2004).
McLoyd, V. C. Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. Am. Psychol. 53, 185–204 (1998).
Hackman, D. M. & Farah, M. J. Socioeconomic status and the developing brain. Trends Cogn. Sci. 13, 65–73 (2009).
Raizada, R. D. & Kishiyama, M. M. Effects of socioeconomic status on brain development, and how cognitive neuroscience may contribute to levelling the playing field. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 4, 3 (2010).
Shonkoff, J. P., Boyce, W. T. & McEwen, B. S. Neuroscience, molecular biology, and the childhood roots of health disparities building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. JAMA 301, 2252–2259 (2009).
Braveman, P. A. et al. Socioeconomic status in health research: one size does not fit all. JAMA 294, 2879–2888 (2005).
Krieger, N., Williams, D. R. & Moss, N. E. Measuring social class in US public health research: concepts, methodologies, and guidelines. Annu. Rev. Public Health 18, 341–378 (1997).
Duncan, G. J., Brooks-Gunn, J. & Klebanov, P. K. Economic deprivation and early childhood development. Child Dev. 65, 296–318 (1994).
Noble, K. G., McCandliss, B. D. & Farah, M. J. Socioeconomic gradients predict individual differences in neurocognitive abilities. Dev. Sci. 10, 464–480 (2007).
Sirin, S. R. Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: a meta-analytic review of research. Rev. Educ. Res. 75, 417–453 (2005).
Merikangas, K. R. et al. Prevalence and treatment of mental disorders among US children in the 2001–2004 NHANES. Pediatrics 125, 75–81 (2010).
Goodman, E., Slap, G. B. & Huang, B. The public health impact of socioeconomic status on adolescent depression and obesity. Am. J. Public Health 93, 1844–1850 (2003).
Shanahan, L., Copeland, W., Costello, E. J. & Angold, A. Specificity of putative psychosocial risk factors for psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. J. Child Psychol. Psychiatry 49, 34–42 (2008).
Tracy, M., Zimmerman, F. J., Galea, S., McCauley, E. & Vander Stoep, A. What explains the relation between family poverty and childhood depressive symptoms? J. Psychiatr. Res. 42, 1163–1175 (2008).
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network. Duration and developmental timing of poverty and children's cognitive and social development from birth through third grade. Child Dev. 76, 795–810 (2005).
Wadsworth, M. E. & Achenbach, T. M. Explaining the link between low socioeconomic status and psychopathology: testing two mechanisms of the social causation hypothesis. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 73, 1146–1153 (2005).
Korenman, S., Miller, J. E. & Sjaastad, J. E. Long-term poverty and child development in the United States: results from the NLSY. Child. Youth Serv. Rev. 17, 127–155 (1995).
Duncan, G. J., Yeung, W. J., Brooks-Gunn, J. & Smith, J. R. How much does childhood poverty affect the life chances of children? Am. Sociol. Rev. 63, 406–423 (1998).
Guo, G. & Mullan-Harris, K. M. The mechanisms mediating the effects of poverty on children's intellectual development. Demography 37, 431–437 (2000).
Bowles, S., Gintis, H. & Groves, M. O. (eds) Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success. (Princeton Univ. Press, New Jersey, 2005).
Farah, M. J. et al. Childhood poverty: specific associations with neurocognitive development. Brain Res. 1110, 166–174 (2006).
Noble, K. G., Norman, M. F. & Farah, M. J. Neurocognitive correlates of socioeconomic status in kindergarten children. Dev. Sci. 8, 74–87 (2005).
Kishiyama, M. M., Boyce, W. T., Jimenez, A. M., Perry, L. M. & Knight, R. T. Socioeconomic disparities affect prefrontal function in children. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 21, 1106–1115 (2009).
Levine, S. C., Vasilyeva, M., Lourenco, S. F., Newcombe, N. S. & Huttonlocher, J. Socioeconomic status modifies the sex difference in spatial skill. Psychol. Sci. 16, 841–845 (2005).
Herrmann, D. & Guadagno, M. A. Memory performance and socioeconomic status. Appl. Cogn. Psychol. 11, 113–120 (1997).
Whitehurst, G. J. in Research on Communication and Language Disorders: Contribution to Theories of Language Development (eds Adamson, L. B. & Romski, M. A.) 233–266 (Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland, 1997).
Hart, B. & Risley, T. R. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. (Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland, 1995).
Eckert, M. A., Lambardino, L. J. & Leonard, C. M. Planar asymmetry tips the phonological playground and environment raises the bar. Child Dev. 72, 988–1002 (2001).
Raizada, R. D. S. et al. Socioeconomic status predicts hemispheric specialization of the left inferior frontal gyrus in young children. Neuroimage 40, 1392–1401 (2008).
Noble, K. G., Wolmetz, M. E., Ochs, L. G., Farah, M. J. & McCandliss, B. D. Brain–behavior relationships in reading acquisition are modulated by socioeconomic factors. Dev. Sci. 9, 642–654 (2006).
Lipina, S. J., Martelli, M. I., Vuelta, B. & Colombo, J. A. Performance on the A-not-B task of Argentinian infants from unsatisfied and satisfied basic needs homes. Int. J. Psychol. 39, 49–60 (2005).
Mezzacappa, E. Alterting, orienting, and executive attention: developmental properties and sociodemographic correlates in and epidemiological sample of young, urban children. Child Dev. 75, 1373–1386 (2004).
Ardila, A. et al. The influence of the parents' educational level on the development of executive functions. Dev. Neuropsychol. 28, 539–560 (2005).
Howse, R. B., Lange, G., Farran, D. C. & Boyles, C. D. Motivation and self-regulation as predictors of achievement in economically disadvantaged young children. J. Exp. Educ. 71, 151–174 (2003).
Hughes, C. & Ensor, R. Executive function and theory of mind in 2 year olds: a family affair? Dev. Neuropsychol. 28, 645–668 (2005).
Waber, D. P. et al. The NIH MRI study of normal brain development: performance of a population based sample of healthy children aged 6 to 18 years on a neuropsychological battery. J. Int. Neuropsychol. Soc. 13, 729–746 (2007).
Evans, G. W. & Schamberg, M. A. Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 6545–6549 (2009).
Engel, P. M. J., Santos, F. H. & Gathercole, S. E. Are working memory measures free of socioeconomic influence? J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 51, 1580–1587 (2008).
Lupien, S. J., King, S., Meaney, M. J. & McEwen, B. S. Can poverty get under your skin? Basal cortisol levels and cognitive function in children from low and high socioeconomic status. Dev. Psychopathol. 13, 653–676 (2001).
Wiebe, S. A., Espy, K. A. & Charak, D. Using confirmatory factor analysis to understand executive control in preschool children: I. Latent structure. Dev. Psychol. 44, 575–587 (2008).
Turrell, G. et al. Socioeconomic position across the lifecourse and cognitive function in late middle age. J. Gerontol. B Psychol. Sci. Soc. Sci. 57, S43–S51 (2002).
D'Angiulli, A., Herdman, A., Stapells, D. & Hertzman, C. Children's event-related potentials of auditory selective attention vary with their socioeconomic status. Neuropsychology 22, 293–300 (2008).
Stevens, C., Lauinger, B. & Neville, H. Differences in the neural mechanisms of selective attention in children from different socioeconomic backgrounds: an event-related brain potential study. Dev. Sci. 12, 634–646 (2009).
Tomarken, A. J., Dichter, G. S., Garber, J. & Simien, C. Resting frontal brain activity: linkages to maternal depression and socio-economic status among adolescents. Biol. Psychol. 67, 77–102 (2004).
Gianaros, P. J. et al. Potential neural embedding of parental social standing. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 3, 91–96 (2008).
Gianaros, P. J. et al. Perigenual anterior cingulated morphology covaries with perceived social standing. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 2, 161–173 (2007).
Ochsner, K. N. & Gross, J. J. The cognitive control of emotion. Trends Cogn. Sci. 9, 242–249 (2005).
Ressler, K. J. & Mayberg, H. S. Targeting abnormal neural circuits in mood and anxiety disorders: from the laboratory to the clinic. Nature Neurosci. 10, 1116–1124 (2007).
Buckner, J. C., Mezzacappa, E. & Beardslee, W. R. Characteristics of resilient youths living in poverty: the role of self-regulatory processes. Dev. Psychopathol. 15, 139–162 (2003).
Lengua, L. J. The contribution of emotionality and self-regulation to the understanding of children's response to multiple risk. Child Dev. 73, 144–161 (2002).
Duncan, G. J. et al. School readiness and later achievement. Dev. Psychol. 43, 1428–1446 (2007).
Forget-Dubois, N. et al. Early child language mediates the relation between home environment and school readiness. Child Dev. 80, 736–749 (2009).
Morgan, A. B. & Lilienfeld, S. O. A meta-analytic review of the relation between antisocial behavior and neuropsychological measures of executive function. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 20, 113–136 (2000).
Rogers, R. D. et al. Executive and prefrontal dysfunction in unipolar depression: a review of neuropsychological and imaging evidence. Neurosci. Res. 50, 1–11 (2004).
Blair, C. & Diamond, A. Biological processes in prevention and intervention: the promotion of self-regulation as a means of preventing school failure. Dev. Psychopathol. 20, 899–911 (2008).
Dohrenwend, B. P. et al. Socioeconomic status and psychiatric disorders: the causation-selection issue. Science 255, 946–952 (1992).
Johnson, J. G., Cohen, P., Dohrenwend, B. P., Link, B. G. & Brook, J. S. A longitudinal investigation of social causation and social selection processes involved in the association between socioeconomic status and psychiatric disorders. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 108, 490–499 (1999).
Costello, E. J., Compton, S. N., Keeler, G. & Angold, A. Relationships between poverty and psychopathology: a natural experiment. JAMA 290, 2023–2029 (2003).
South, S. C. & Krueger, R. F. Genetic and environmental influences on internalizing psychopathology vary as a function of economic status. Psychol. Med. 18 Mar 2010 (doi:10.1017/S0033291710000279).
Nisbett, R. E. Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count (Norton, New York, 2009).
Capron, C. & Duyme, M. Assessment of effects of socio-economic status on IQ in a full cross-fostering study. Nature 340, 552–554 (1989).
Turkheimer, E., Haley, A., Waldron, M., D'Onofrio, B. M. & Gottesman, I. I. Socioeconomic status modifies heritability of IQ in young children. Psychol. Sci. 14, 623–628 (2003).
Friedman, N. P. et al. Individual differences in executive function are almost entirely genetic in origin. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 137, 201–225 (2008).
Lasky-Su, J. et al. A study of how socioeconomic status moderates the relationship between SNPs encompassing BDNF and ADHD symptom counts in ADHD families. Behav. Genet. 37, 487–497 (2007).
Manuck, S. B., Flory, J. D., Ferrell, R. E. & Muldoon, M. F. Socio-economic status covaries with central nervous system serotonergic responsivity as a function of allelic variation in the serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region. Psychoneuroendocrinology 29, 651–668 (2004).
Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J. & Munro, S. Preschool program improves cognitive control. Science 318, 1387–1388 (2007).
Thorell, L. B., Lindqvist, S., Nutley, S. B., Bohlin, G. & Klingberg, T. Training and transfer effects of executive functions in preschool children. Dev. Sci. 12, 106–113 (2009).
Spencer, N., Bambang, S., Logans, S. & Gill, L. Socioeconomic status and birth weight: comparison of an area-based measure with the Registrar General's social class. J. Epidemiol. Community Health 53, 495–498 (1999).
Bohnert, K. M. & Breslau, N. Stability of psychiatric outcomes of low birth weight: a longitudinal investigation. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 65, 1080–1086 (2008).
Strauss, R. S. Adult functional outcome of those born small for gestational age: twenty-six-year follow-up of the 1970 British Birth Cohort. JAMA 283, 625–632 (2000).
Meaney, M. J., Szyf, M. & Seckl, J. R. Epigenetic mechanisms of perinatal programming of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function and health. Trends Mol. Med. 13, 269–277 (2007).
Schlotz, W. & Phillips, D. I. W. Fetal origins of mental health: evidence and mechanisms. Brain Behav. Immun. 23, 905–916 (2009).
Jefferis, B. J., Power, C. & Hertzman, C. Birth weight, childhood socioeconomic environment, and cognitive development in the 1958 British birth cohort study. BMJ 325, 305 (2002).
Seckl, J. R. Glucocorticoids, developmental 'programming' and the risk of affective dysfunction. Prog. Brain Res. 167, 17–34 (2008).
Challis, J. R. et al. The fetal placental hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, parturition and post natal health. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 185, 135–144 (2001).
McGrath, S. & Smith, R. Prediction of preterm delivery using plasma corticotrophin-releasing hormone and other biochemical variables. Ann. Med. 34, 28–36 (2002).
Yeh, T. F. et al. Outcomes at school age after postnatal dexamethasone therapy for lung disease of prematurity. N. Engl. J. Med. 350, 1304–1313 (2004).
Buss, C., Meaney, M. J., Lupien, S. & Pruessner, J. Maternal care modulates the relationship between prenatal risk and hippocampal volume. J. Neurosci. 27, 2592–2595 (2007).
Murmu, M. S. et al. Changes of spine density and dendritic complexity in the prefrontal cortex in offspring of mothers exposed to stress during pregnancy. Eur. J. Neurosci. 24, 1477–1487 (2006).
Maccari, S. et al. Prenatal stress and long-term consequences: implications of glucocorticoid hormones. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 27, 119–127 (2003).
Weinstock, M. The long-term behavioural consequences of prenatal stress. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 32, 1073–1086 (2008).
Glover, V. & O'Connor, T. G. Effects of antenatal stress and anxiety: implications for development and psychiatry. Br. J. Psychiatry 180, 389–391 (2002).
Barbazanges, A., Piazza, P. V., Le Moal, M. & Maccari, S. Maternal glucocorticoid secretion mediates long-term effects of prenatal stress. J. Neurosci. 16, 3943–3949 (1996).
Uno, H., Tarara, R., Else, G., Suleman, M. A. & Sapolsky, R. M. Hippocampal damage associated with prenatal glucocorticoid exposure. J. Neurosci. 9, 1705–1711 (1989).
Schneider, M. L., Moore, C. F., Kraemer, G. W., Roberts, A. D. & DeJesus, O. T. The impact of prenatal stress, fetal alcohol exposure, or both on development: perspectives from a primate model. Psychoneuroendocrinology 27, 285–298 (2002).
Matthews, S. G. & Phillips, D. I. W. Minireview: transgenerational inheritance of the stress response: a new frontier in stress research. Endocrinology 151, 7–13 (2010).
Linver, M. R., Brooks-Gunn, J. & Kohen, D. E. Family processes as pathways from income to young children's development. Dev. Psychol. 38, 719–734 (2002).
Grolnick, W. S., Gurland, S. T., DeCourcey, W. & Jacob, K. Antecedents and consequences of mothers' autonomy support: an experimental investigation. Dev. Psychol. 38, 143–155 (2002).
Belsky, J. & Jaffee, S. in Developmental Psychopathology 2nd edn Vol. 3 (eds Cicchetti, D. & Cohen, D. J.) 38–85 (John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2006).
Repetti, R. L., Taylor, S. E. & Seeman, T. E. Risky families: family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychol. Bull. 128, 330–366 (2002).
McLoyd, V. C. The impact of economic hardship on Black families and children: psychological distress, parenting, and socioemotional development. Child Dev. 61, 311–346 (1990).
Cicchetti, D. & Toth, S. L. Child maltreatment. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol. 1, 409–438 (2005).
O'Connor, T. G., Deater-Deckard, K., Fulker, D., Rutter, M. & Plomin, R. Genotype–environment correlations in late childhood and early adolescence: antisocial behavioral problems and coercive parenting. Dev. Psychol. 34, 970–981 (1998).
Gunnar, M. R. & Fisher, P. A. The Early Experience, Stress, and Prevention Science Network. Bringing basic research on early experience and stress neurobiology to bear on preventive interventions for neglected and maltreated children. Dev. Psychopathol. 18, 651–677 (2006).
Conger, R. D. et al. Economic stress, coercive family process, and developmental problems of adolescents. Child Dev. 30, 467–483 (1994).
Masten, A. S., Morison, P., Pellegrini, D. & Tellegen, A. in Risk and Protective Factors in the Development of Psychopathology. (eds Rolf, J. E., Marsten, A. S., Cicchett, D., Nuechterlein, K. H. & Weintraub, S.) 236–256 (Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, 1990).
Van den Boom, D. The influence of temperament and mothering on attachment and exploration: an experimental manipulation of sensitive responsiveness among lower-class mothers and irritable infants. Child Dev. 65, 1457–1477 (1994).
Olds, D. et al. Long-term effects of nurse home visitation on children's criminal and antisocial behavior: 15-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 280, 1238–1244 (1998).
Fisher, P. A., Gunnar, M. R., Chamberlain, P. & Reid, J. B. Preventive intervention for maltreated preschool children: impact on children's behavior, neuroendocrine activity and foster parent functioning. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 39, 1356–1364 (2000).
Farah, M. J. et al. Environmental stimulation, parental nurturance and cognitive development in humans. Dev. Sci. 15, 793–801 (2008).
Rao, H. et al. Early parental care is important for hippocampal maturation: evidence from brain morphology in humans. Neuroimage 49, 1144–1150 (2010).
Coplan, J. D. et al. Persistent elevations of cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of corticotropin-releasing factor in adult nonhuman primates exposed to early-life stressors: implications for the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 93, 1619–1623 (1996).
Champagne, F. A. & Meaney, M. J. Stress during gestation alters postpartum maternal care and the development of the offspring in a rodent model. Biol. Psychiatry 59, 1227–1235 (2006).
Roth, T. L., Lubin, F. D., Funk, A. J. & Sweatt, J. D. Lasting epigenetic influence of early-life adversity on the BDNF gene. Biol. Psychiatry 65, 760–769 (2009).
Caldji, C. et al. Maternal care during infancy regulates the development of neural systems mediating the expression of behavioral fearfulness in adulthood in the rat. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 5335–5340 (1998).
Caldji, C., Diorio, J. & Meaney, M. J. Variations in maternal care alter GABAA receptor subunit expression in brain regions associated with fear. Neuropsychopharmacol. 28, 150–159 (2003).
Liu, D. et al. Maternal care, hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors and HPA responses to stress. Science 277, 1659–1662 (1997).
Francis, D. D., Diorio, J., Liu, D. & Meaney, M. J. Nongenomic transmission across generations in maternal behavior and stress responses in the rat. Science 286, 1155–1158 (1999).
Weaver, I. C. G. et al. Epigenetic programming through maternal behavior. Nature Neurosci. 7, 847–854 (2004).
Champagne, F. A. Epigenetic mechanisms and the transgenerational effects of maternal care. Front. Neuroendocrinol. 29, 386–397 (2008).
Klose, R. J. & Bird, A. P., Genomic DNA methylation: the mark and its mediators. Trends Biochem. Sci. 31, 89–97 (2006).
Weaver, I. C. G. et al. The transcription factor nerve growth factor-inducible protein a mediates epigenetic programming: altering epigenetic marks by immediate-early genes. J. Neurosci. 27, 1756–1768 (2007).
Murgatroyd, C. et al. Dynamic DNA methylation programs persistent adverse effects of early-life stress. Nature Neurosci. 12, 1559–1566 (2009).
McGowan, P. O. et al. Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse. Nature Neurosci. 12, 342–348 (2009).
Liu, D. et al. Maternal care, hippocampal synaptogenesis and cognitive development in rats. Nature Neurosci. 3, 799–806 (2000).
Chao, M. V. Neurotrophins and their receptors: a convergence point for many signalling pathways. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 4, 299–309 (2003).
Champagne, D. L. et al. Maternal care alters dendritic length, spine density and synaptic potentiation in adulthood. J. Neurosci. 28, 6037–6045 (2008).
Bredy, T. W., Zhang, T. Y., Grant, R. J., Diorio, J. & Meaney, M. J. Peripubertal environmental enrichment reverses the effects of maternal care on hippocampal development and glutamate receptor subunit expression. Eur. J. Neurosci. 20, 1355–1362 (2004).
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. Child-care effect sizes for the NICHD study of early child care and youth development. Am. Psychol. 61, 99–116 (2006).
Dubow, E. F. & Ippolito, M. F. Effects of poverty and quality of the home environment on changes in the academic and behavioral adjustment of elementary school-age children. J. Clin. Child Psychol. 23, 401–412 (1994).
Garrett, P., Ng'andu, N. & Ferron, J. Poverty experiences of young children and the quality of their home environments. Child Dev. 65, 331–345 (1994).
Posner, J. K. & Vandell, D. L. Low-income children's after-school care: are there beneficial effects of after-school programs? Child Dev. 65, 440–456 (1994).
Reynolds, A. J. Effects of a preschool plus follow-on intervention for children at risk. Dev. Psychol. 30, 787–804 (1994).
Lee, V. E., Brooks-Gunn, J., Schnur, E. & Liaw, F. Are Head Start effects sustained? A longitudinal follow-up comparison of disadvantaged children attending Head Start, no preschool, and other preschool programs. Child Dev. 61, 495–507 (1990).
Seitz, V., Rosenbaum, L. K. & Apfel, N. H. Effects of family support intervention: a ten-year follow-up. Child Dev. 56, 376–391 (1985).
Campbell, F. A. & Ramey, C. T. Cognitive and school outcomes for high-risk African-American students at middle adolescence: positive effects of early intervention. Am. Educ. Res. J. 32, 743–772 (1995).
Campbell, F. A., Pungello, E. P., Miller-Johnson, S., Burchinal, M. & Ramey, C. T. The development of cognitive and academic abilities: growth curves from an early childhood educational experiment. Dev. Psychol. 37, 231–242 (2001).
Knudsen, E. I., Heckman, J. J., Cameron, J. L. & Shonkoff, J. P. Economic, neurobiological, and behavioral perspectives on building America's future workforce. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 103, 10155–10162 (2006).
Reynolds, A. J., Ou, S. R. & Magnuson, K. Preschool-to-third grade programs and practices: a review of research. Child. Youth Serv. Rev. 32, 1121–1131 (2010).
Schweinhart, L. J. Crime prevention by the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program. Victims & Offenders 2, 141–160 (2007).
Hebb, D. O. The effects of early experience on problem solving at maturity. Am. Psychol. 2, 306–307 (1947).
Rampon, C. et al. Enrichment induces structural changes and recovery from nonspatial memory deficits in CA1 NMDAR1-knockout mice. Nature Neurosci. 3, 238–244 (2000).
van Praag, H., Kempermann, G. & Gage, F. H. Neural consequences of environmental enrichment. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 1, 191–198 (2000).
Kempermann, G., Kuhn, H. G. & Gage, F. H. More hippocampal neurons in adult mice living in an enriched environment. Nature 386, 493–495 (1997).
Sale, A., Berardi, N. & Maffei, L. Enrich the environment to empower the brain. Trends Neurosci. 32, 233–239 (2009).
Fernald, L. C. H. et al. Role of cash in conditional cash transfer programmes for child health, growth, and development: an analysis of Mexico's Opportunidades. Lancet 371, 828–837 (2008).
Weissman, M. M. et al. Remission of maternal depression is associated with reductions in psychopathology in their children: a STAR*D-child report. JAMA 295, 1389–1398 (2006).
Farah, M. J. Neuroethics: the practical and the philosophical. Trends Cogn. Sci. 9, 34–40 (2005).
Surkan, P. J. et al. Neuropsychological function in children with blood lead levels <10 microg/dL. Neurotoxicology 28, 1170–1177 (2007).
Miranda, M. L. et al. The relationship between early childhood blood lead levels and performance on end-of-grade tests. Environ. Health Perspect. 115, 1242–1247 (2007).
Gómez-Pinilla, F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 9, 568–578 (2008).
Abma, J. C. & Mott, F. L. Substance use and prenatal care during pregnancy among young women. Fam. Plann. Perspect. 23, 117–128 (1991).
Caetano, R., Ramisetty-Mikler, S., Floyd, L. R. & McGrath, C. The epidemiology of drinking among women of child-bearing age. Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res. 30, 1023–1030 (2006).
Frank, D. A., Augustyn, M., Knight, W. G., Pell, T. & Zuckerman, B. Growth, development, and behavior in early childhood following prenatal cocaine exposure: a systematic review. JAMA 285, 1613–1625 (2001).
Goodman, E., McEwen, B. S., Dolan, L. M., Schafer-Kalkhoff, T. & Adler, N. E. Social disadvantage and adolescent stress. J. Adolesc. Health 37, 484–492 (2005).
Sapolsky, R. M. The influence of social hierarchy on primate health. Science 308, 648–652 (2005).
Liston, C. et al. Stress-induced alterations in prefrontal corticial dendritic morphology predict selective impairments in perceptual attentional set-shifting. J. Neurosci. 26, 7870–7874 (2006).
Liston, C., McEwen, B. S. & Casey, B. J. Psychosocial stress reversibly disrupts prefrontal processing and attentional control. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 912–917 (2009).
We thank our funding institutions for their support of our research and in the preparation of this article. M.J.M. was supported by grants from the US National Institute of Health, Child Health and Human Development, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Hope for Depression Research Foundation. M.J.F and D.A.H were supported by grants from the NICHD (grant R01-HD055689), the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA grant R01-DA14129), the US Office of Naval Research (grant N000140710034) and the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project. We also thank K. Matula for her assistance with references.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Hackman, D., Farah, M. & Meaney, M. Socioeconomic status and the brain: mechanistic insights from human and animal research. Nat Rev Neurosci 11, 651–659 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2897
Modeling familial predictors of proband outcomes in neurogenetic disorders: initial application in XYY syndrome
Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (2021)
Cognitive interventions in children and adolescents from low socioeconomic status backgrounds: a systematic review protocol of randomized controlled trials
Systematic Reviews (2021)
BMC Public Health (2021)
Nature Reviews Disease Primers (2021)
npj Science of Learning (2021)