Rich Man, Poor Man: Socioeconomic Adversity and Brain Development (Cerebrum):
“..While early exposure to additional languages or music may lead to beneficial changes in brain development, early adversity can likewise have important but detrimental effects on the brain. For example, by 10 years of age, family SES is an excellent predictor of a child’s cognitive abilities: children from higher-SES families tend to perform well above children from lower-SES families—regardless of whether those children had high or low cognitive abilities at age two.
Numerous factors contribute to these SES gaps in cognitive development: nutrition, environmental toxins, home learning environment, exposure to stress, and early schooling…mounting evidence suggests that socioeconomic factors—parental education or family income—may lead to differences in the home-language environment or exposure to family stress, which in turn have cascading effects on the development of brain systems that support critical neurocognitive functions such as language, memory, and self-regulation…
Highly educated parents invest far more time playing with, talking to, and teaching their children, and parenting style has been cited as the single most important factor in explaining the SES gap in cognitive development…social scientists and neuroscientists believe that policies that reduce family poverty would have meaningful effects on early caregiving and reductions in family stress, ultimately improving children’s brain functioning and promoting the cognitive and socio-emotional development that is so critical for children to succeed and to lead healthy, productive lives.