The development of cognitive processes is largely affected by the environment that surrounds a person. As such, environmental factors can impede the development of some cognitive processes and trigger the development of others (Lundahl & Hull, 2014). In order to understand the way economically depressed and high-crime environment might potentially influence cognitive processes, it is essential to define what factors are naturally associated with this environment. In this view, it is essential to understand that this environment is commonly associated with such factors as threat, violence, and chaos (Perry & Szalavitz, 2007).There are several ways how high-crime environment can potentially influence cognitive processes. In some case, excessive stress associated with such environment can fully block the cognitive development. This is particularly relevant to children’s cognitive development which can be disrupted by violence and fear (Lundahl & Hull, 2014). Perry and Szalavitz (2007) likewise note that a high-crime environment which involves continual stress and threats is often the cause of the “underdevelopment of those systems that code for compassion and self-control” (p. 105). As a result, people with this specificity in the cognitive development are more likely to commit cruel crimes and show unprecedented indifference towards suffering of others.
Another peculiar effect resides in stimulating “those areas of the brain responsible for reading threat-related social cues” (p.105). This phenomenon is associated with the fact that high-crime environment requires a person to be constantly on guard. As such, a person’s brain has no other alternative but to adapt to the offered conditions. While this impact might seem to be rather harmless, in effect, the constant stimulation of the threat-related cognitive areas is an excessive load for a human brain (Lundhalh & Hull, 2014). In this view, all the effects that economically depressed and high-crime environment has on cognitive processes are negative.
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