Sample Communication Essay Paper on Book Reporting


Hanson, et al (1), reports that Children who reside in poverty places are more likely to acquire problems across all domains, including schooling and health. Aspects of cognitive functioning such as information processing may cause the problems. The authors focus on several approaches through which poverty may affect the brain functions and underlying cognitive processes. Hanson et al address the subject by conducting observations and through analysis of repeated measures of growth of the brain among young children. The focus group is children between five months to four years from diverse financial backgrounds. From the MRI examinations conducted, children from low-income families had lower volumes of gray matter, tissue critical for information processing and execution of actions (Hanson, et al 5). These variations were apparent in the frontal and parietal lobes.

 In addition to the finding, there were instances of variation, which were detected in brain development with respect to the socioeconomic status of children from lower-income households. The authors offer insight on areas that future research ought to focus on. They emphasize the need for future research to establish whether a critical aspect of environment can probably influence the brain development among children and if such effect mirrors the influence of multiple factors in combination. Other factors that the research ought to focus on include the effects of household resources, environmental stimulation, crowding, exposure to pathogens and noise, parental stress, and nutrition (Hansen, et al 7).

Dahl and Lochner have applied instrumental variables strategy to estimate the causal effect of income on the mathematics of children and reading achievement. The basis lies in the results of variation from large, non-linear changes in the Earned Income Tax Credit (Dahl & Lochner 1927). From the baseline estimates, $1,000 increase in the income translates to 6% test scores standard deviation in the short run. These test scores variations were found to be larger for children from disadvantaged families.

Endogeneity of income was one major challenge Dahl and Lochner had to face in attempting to estimate the causal effect of family income on children’s outcome. Another challenge was the annual changes in family circumstances such as illness and parental job loss that affected family income, family dynamics, and parental behavior. However, the latter posed a major problem in the traditional empirical studies, which fail to separate the effects that result from income changes to other unmeasured family circumstances. This study is particularly useful in finding out whether income support programs can improve child development. The study is practical since it confirms the reality that children developing in poor families are more likely to face additional challenges that would affect their development, irrespective of whether family income was to increase substantially.

            Kolb and Gibb focus on the effect of poor economic stability of families on the health development of children across the globe (215). This study also accentuates the relationship between low socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood with the poor cognitive development, language, memory, and socio-emotional processing. The study by Kolb and Gibb supports previous findings that irrespective of the good parenting, children from low socio-economic status had fewer vocabularies due to low exposure to learning materials. The staggering difference shows the period necessary for the intervention to change the lives of children from low SES.

            I value this study since it offers additional information on the effect of poverty on increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. This finding proves that stress effect on the infants alters brain development and behavior. The study further proves that early stress on children is likely to result in impairments in motor and cognitive behaviors. The findings are useful to the public health, policy decision makers, and to the public as it notes the areas to invest on to promote optimal development of the at-risk young children. The study is of great use as it offers insight on the need to assist parents with parenting skills to improve the lives of infants.


            Childhood poverty is a major problem in the health sector in the nation as more than 15 million children are presently living in families below the poverty level. This is derived from the three articles, which encompass data of children in different ages and regions in the country living below the federal poverty line level. I value these findings as they answer the concern of increased mental health and physical health problems among the adults from poor families. The findings, in addition, offer a solution to this phenomenon since the government in collaboration with the health practitioners can ensure that children within the country are raised in better environments where they can gain access to libraries, play spaces, and home learning resources such as age-appropriate toys.

The authors also accentuate the fact that pre-natal experiences also affect brain growth and affirm that since human are able to adapt to the environmental conditions, researchers must appreciate the levels through which impecunious surroundings are toxic for children. This is because clear understanding on the effect of environmental variation such as socio-economic variations greatly influences human brain growth and behavior. I like this article since it has great effects in advancing major scientific questions such as appreciating the genetic against the environmental contributions of the brain and behavioral development.

Works Cited

Dahl, B. Gordon & Lochner Lance. “The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement:

Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit.” American Economic Review. 2012, 102(5): 1927–1956 Accessed on March 2nd 2017.

Hanson, L. Jamie, et al. “Family Poverty Affects the Rate of Human Infant Brain Growth”.

PLOS ONE. 2013, Vol 10, Issue 12. Accessed on March 2nd 2017.

Kolb Bryan & Gibb Robbin. “Childhood Poverty and Brain Development.” Human

Development. 2015, 58: 215-217. DOI: 10.1159/000438766