The Cognitive Effects Of The Effects Of Adverse Conditions On Childhood
In a relatively recent study looking to examine the cognitive effects of adverse conditions in childhood, 103 adult participants were tested for inhibition and shifting, an aspect of cognitive flexibility thought to underlie creativity. The participants’ childhoods were assessed in terms of harshness, related to socioeconomic status, and in unpredictability, related to lots of random change such as people often moving in and out of his or her home. A condition was also included where subjects read an unsettling news story to encourage feelings of uncertainty. The results showed that when participants read the news story, “those who had experienced unpredictable but not harsh childhoods performed worse at inhibition but better at shifting than those whose childhoods were not unpredictable.”
Considering that the fact that childhood adversity may actually have a positive effect on a person is rather new, this is pretty exciting. However, it does seem that a mere 103 participants is a small number and the methods themselves are rather vague and inconclusive to say we’ve discovered anything solid. It would be interesting to see how other studies on this would play out on a larger scale with a study of more participants.
As someone who had a childhood full of adversity, it seems almost intuitive to me that childhood adversity would at least have an immense potential to make someone a better person in the long run. On the other hand, people will…