Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Donate to NHPR before noon Saturday (12/2) and you could win a trip to Key West!

By age five, children's brains can look very different—and family income is a factor

Updated November 11, 2022 at 10:17 AM ET

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Life Stages Of The Brain

At birth, babies' brains look pretty similar. But by age five, there are acute disparities in development. Through a series of studies, Kimberly Noble has found one major factor is family income.

About Kimberly Noble

Kimberly Noble is a neuroscientist and pediatrician. She is a Professor of Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she serves as the director of Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development Lab.

Her researchfocuses on disparities in development and health across infancy, childhood, and adolescence. She is also the co-director of Baby's First Years study, a clinical trial of poverty reduction to assess the impact of household income on children's development in the first three years of life.

She received her B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior, Ph.D. in neuroscience, and M.D. in Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Noble completed her residency in pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Rachel Faulkner and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Rachel Faulkner is a producer for TED Radio Hour and How I Built This, where she produces, scores and edits episodes.
Sanaz Meshkinpour

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.