Cash to Parents Helps Baby Brain Growth

This goes against 40 years of conservative dogma saying that the money goes to drugs and booze.

Can giving parents cash help with babies’ brain development?
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/22893313/cash-babies-brai…

Katie McLaughlin, a professor of psychology at Harvard not involved in the study who studies brain development in children, told me the PNAS paper is “maybe one of the most important papers to come out on the effects of early adversity on early development broadly, and brain development in particular.” Allyson Mackey, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania not involved in the study, agreed and argued the changes to brain wave patterns were highly significant: “My prediction is that the brain effects of cash transfer will grow as kids grow up.”

intercst

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The research was very weak. The group was small and so was the effect. The authors wrote, "This association is strongest among the most economically disadvantaged families…Individual differences in this pattern, particularly in absolute power, have been associated with children’s cognitive and behavioral outcomes. … Of course, these general patterns conceal considerable heterogeneity; not all children facing poverty or other forms of adversity will show evidence of these neurodevelopmental differences. … Effect sizes were similar in magnitude to many scalable education interventions, although the significance of estimates varied with the analytic specification.

But while most of our evidence points to a plausible causal impact of the cash gifts, not all evidence presented here survives stringent multiple comparison correction, precluding full confidence in being able to reject the null hypotheses. Caution and further replication are therefore clearly warranted."

That last comment is jargon for, “The effect we are reporting is so weak that it probably doesn’t really exist (the null hypothesis). The only way we got a signal at all was to manipulate and massage the data until we got a signal, which we colored RED so it would look significant.”

This is really junk science, created by researchers who wanted to publish no matter how weak the data. It’s publicized by people who saw what they wanted to see and didn’t understand how weak the evidence really is, even though the researchers themselves said so.

Even if the hypothesis was strongly supported by the data (which it isn’t) this would only apply to the very poorest families.

Wendy

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Here’s the link to the actual research.
https://www.pnas.org/content/119/5/e2115649119?utm_source=ST…

Using Vox to digest and spit out their interpretation of research is a waste of time.
Wendy

Wendy analyzes,

Using Vox to digest and spit out their interpretation of research is a waste of time.
Wendy

Perhaps it goes down better coming from the NY Times?

Cash Aid to Poor Mothers Increases Brain Activity in Babies, Study Finds
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/us/politics/child-tax-cre…

intercst

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