#Growing up #high-stress #environment #tap into #hidden #skills

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Stress-adapted youth may possess traits—such as heightened vigilance, attention shifting, and empathic accuracy—that traditional learning and testing situations don’t tap into. These skills may actually allow at-risk children to perform better than their peers from low-risk backgrounds when faced with uncertainty and stress.

Having a better understanding of those stress-adapted skills could help educators and other experts work with children and adults who have grown up in stressful circumstances more successfully, says JeanMarie Bianchi, a psychology lecturer at the University of Arizona and coauthor of the paper in Perspectives on Psychological Science.

“Once we are able to catalog the psychological advantages that are promoted by stressful early life conditions, we may be able to apply that to how we teach, from preschool through college, making learning more effective for individuals from different backgrounds.”

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