Financial worries can scramble your brain

Money problems can scramble your brain making it harder to solve problems, according to new research.

Scientists in the United States have published the results of a test suggesting that being reminded of financial woes effectively reduces your IQ by the equivalent of 13 points.

The scientists came to their conclusion by asking a sample group to take an IQ test, which began with them revealing how much money they earned.

For some participants, the first question of the test was: “A person's car breaks down and they need $100 to fix it. Tell me what are the options they have available.” 

However, other participants were told that the person needs $1,500 to fix the car.  

According to, less wealthy participants who were told the person needs $1,500 tended to perform much worse on the IQ test that followed. The researchers believed this higher amount triggered thoughts of the participants' own financial worries.

Elder Shafir, one of the researchers involved in the study, explained: “Financial constraints capture a lot of your attention – then there's less bandwidth left to solve problems. Your cognitive ability starts to slow down, just like a computer.”

According to, the full study was published in the latest edition of the journal 'Science'.