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Study Shows Poverty Is a Destructive State of Mind 

ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- It's fairly obvious that bad choices can lead to people becoming poor.

However, a new Princeton University study also claims that those in poverty are more prone to making bad decisions because their financial situation weighs heavily on their minds.

The Princeton researchers contend in their report that brainpower is often affected by poverty to the point where people can't focus on aspects of their lives other than money.

As a result, they start making more mistakes, which hamper their lives and wind up perpetuating poverty.

Princeton doctoral student Jiaying Zhao says poverty leads to impaired cognitive functioning, which in turn, "can actually be a cause of poverty."

One of the bad decisions might be borrowing so much that it puts the person in a deeper hole than when they started.

Currently, a family of four with an annual income of less than $23,497 is considered to be living in poverty.  In 2011, there were 9.5 million U.S. families in that situation or close to 16 percent of the population.

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