Course Title: CE Workshop 07 - Poverty and the Developing Brain (Kim)


Credit Hours: 1.0


Instructor(s) Pilyoung Kim


Pilyoung Kim, PhD
Associate Professor
Stress Early Experience & Development (SEED) Research Center
Department of Psychology
University of Denver

CE Workshop # 7:


Poverty and the Developing Brain

Abstract & Learning Objectives:

Poverty is a public health concern because individuals exposed to disadvantaged backgrounds are at a greater risk for morbidity and mortality across the lifespan as well as negative developmental outcomes in children. To unfold the neurobiological mechanisms underlying health inequalities, researchers have examined how poverty exposure negatively influences brain development. Now a substantial body of neuroimaging literature consistently suggests that poverty in childhood has adverse impacts on brain development. The negative outcomes in the brain structure, function, and connectivity have been further associated with increased risks for difficulties in emotional and cognitive controls and lower academic performance. First, I review how poverty influences brain structure and function in childhood. Second, I review how childhood poverty may have a long-lasting effect and be prospectively associated with brain outcomes across the lifespan. Third, I discuss the potential neurobiological and environmental factors that may mediate the associations between poverty and brain development.


Upon conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Discuss the science relevant to the negative impact of poverty on brain development
  • List environment factors that influence brain development among children living in poverty
  • Apply an evidence-based framework to describe the mechanisms by which poverty is associated with negative cognitive and health outcomes in childhood and beyond

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Pilyoung Kim is an Associate Professor at the Stress Early Experience & Development (SEED) Research Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. My research program aims to examine the early life origins of socioeconomic disparities in health from a neurobiological perspective. My current work focuses on the prospective effects of perinatal exposures to poverty-related chronic stress on the neural systems in new mothers and infants. In my lab, we also investigate how early exposure to poverty may continue to influence brain development in later childhood and young adulthood. In these research projects, my research team aims that the knowledge gained from research would advance understanding of specific neurobiological processes by which poverty is associated with magnified risks for negative parent-child relationships, and for psychopathology for both generations – parents, and children.