From VOA Learning English this is As It Is.
Welcome back! I’m Caty Weaver. Today, we talk about two studies. One provides interesting findings about how poverty affects reasoning. The other shows the growing importance of technology in connecting young adults and their parents.
Poverty Stress Weakens Brain Power
New research finds a link between poverty and poor decision making. The findings were reported in the journal Science. They may help explain why poor people sometimes make bad choices that prolong their economic hardship. Jim Tedder reports.
Earlier studies have found that poor people are less likely to take care of their health. Studies have shown they also do worse with their finances, and pay less attention to their children than do richer people. All of these actions make the poor less likely to escape poverty, research suggests.
But there has been little research on why the poor make decisions that make their lives harder. Until recently, it was economists who studied poverty, not psychologists. Eldar Shafir is a psychologist with Princeton University in New Jersey. He says now scientists from both fields work together.
但很少有研究说明为什么穷人要做出那些使自己生活更艰难的决定。直到最近，才由研究贫困问题的经济学家进行了研究，而不是心理学家。Eldar Shafir 是新泽西普林斯顿大学的心理学家。他说，现在这两个领域的科学家展开了合作。
“And in the last few years the two disciplines sort of combined forces. And we just became interested in cognitive function and its impact when people struggle with not having enough.”
Mr. Shafir and his team did two experiments. One took place at a shopping center in New Jersey. Another was carried out among sugar cane farmers in rural India.
The New Jersey experiment involved individuals with low paying jobs and others said to belong to the middle class. All the volunteers were asked what they would do if their cars needed repairs. The researchers then performed tests for reason, such as choosing which shape fits in a pattern of shapes.
The volunteers were given two possible imaginary situations. In the first, the car repairs cost $150. In the second, the repairs cost $1,500.
志愿者会收到两个有可能的假想情景。第一个，汽车修理需要 150 美元。第二个，汽车修理需要 1500 美元。
“And what we found is, when we looked at the cases where the financial scenario in the background was not too challenging, the poor and the rich performed equally well on all the cognitive tests.”
Not so when the researchers raised the repair costs to $1,500.
但当研究人员将维修费用提高到 1500 美元时就不是这样了。
“Once we tickled their minds with financially more challenging problems, now the poor performed significantly worse.”
The study showed the poorer individuals lost about 13 intelligent quotient, IQ, points on average. This is about the loss experienced when a person has not slept for one night.
这项研究表明，穷人智商（IQ）的平均损失有 13 点。这相当于一个人一夜未眠的智商损失。
The scientists then wondered if they would see the same result outside the controlled environment of a New Jersey shopping mall. And they wanted to know if the same person reacted differently when he was rich and when he was poor.
That is where the Indian sugar cane farmers came in. They earn most of their money once a year, when the harvest comes in. But the money often does not last through the year.
“So they find themselves basically rich after the harvest when the income comes in and poor just before the harvest.”
The researchers gave them tests similar to the ones taken by the people in New Jersey. They tested the Indian farmers before the harvest and after.
And the results were much the same as with the mall shoppers.
“They performed much more slowly and with many more errors when they were poorer than when they were richer.”
Mr. Shafir says the results support 50 years of research that shows all humans have a limited amount of mental power to deal with the business of life.
Shafir 先生说，这些结果支持了 50 年来的研究结果，就是所有人的心智力量在应对生活中的事情时是有限度的。
For example, an earlier study tested people with chocolate. It found that individuals who resisted the desire for chocolate were not as strong afterward. They had more difficulty controlling their emotions or performing difficult mental tasks than people who had not resisted.
And struggling to pay the bills has a similar effect, Mr. Shafir says.
“And so the insight here is that, experiencing scarcity, having not enough of something in a way that weighs on your mind leaves less for everything else.”
I'm Jim Tedder.
You are listening to As It Is from VOA Learning English.
Adult Children Reach Out to Their Parents More Than Ever
In the United States, more parents and their grown adult children are in daily contact by telephone or text messages than ever before. The findings are part of a large study of emerging adulthood by Clark University in Massachusetts.
University researchers studied 1,000 people, all between the ages of 18 and 29 years. They found that 55 percent of parents and their adult children are in daily contact, or almost daily contact, either by telephone or texting. Only three percent reported less than monthly contact with a parent.
James Arnett is a psychology professor at Clark.
大学研究人员研究了 1000 个人，都在 28~29 岁之间。他们发现，有 55%的父母和他们的成年子女每天都通过手机或短信联系，或者基本上每天联系。只有 3% 的人与父母的联系少于每月一次。James Arnett 是克拉克大学的一位心理学教授。
“That’s remarkable. I think compared to when you and I were kids, I think that’s just a revolution.”
Mr. Arnett led the study last year. It included parents and young people from all social, economic and ethnic groups. He says growing up in the current environment and economic climate creates all kinds of emotional difficulties as children enter adulthood. And this, he says, makes it more difficult for parents to give up control. They see their children moving forward in life more slowly.
“They are sort of evaluating their own kids on the basis of the timetable they followed when they were young, and often it doesn’t match up. Their kids generally take longer to complete their education, longer to find a stable job, longer to marry, longer to have their first child. And so to parents, operating on the old timetable seems delayed when it’s really not by contemporary standards.”
James Arnett says technology has made daily communication between parents and adult children much easier. Billions of people around the world now own and use cellular telephones, making it possible to talk or text more often. He says most young people want continued parental guidance and support as they move toward adulthood.
James Arnett 说，科技使得父母与成年子女之间的日常交流变得更容易了。现在，全世界数十亿的人拥有和使用便携式移动电话，这也让更经常地通话或发短信成为可能。他说，大多数年轻人在成为成年人之后还想继续得到父母的指导和支持。
And that’s AS IT IS for today. I’m Caty Weaver.
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