Monday, July 07, 2008

From he that hath not: If you are at the bottom of the heap, mental processes may keep you there

[22 May 2008 - The Economist] New drugs may help to enhance people's mental powers. But a study carried out by Pamela Smith, of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and her colleagues suggests a less pharmacological approach can be taken, too. Their work, just published in Psychological Science, argues that simply putting someone into a weak social position impairs his cognitive function. Conversely, "empowering" him, in the dread jargon of sociology, sharpens up his mind. Dr Smith focused on those cognitive processes that help people maintain and pursue their goals in difficult and distracting situations. She suspected that a lack of social power may reduce someone's ability to keep track of information and make plans to achieve his goals. More


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