It’s not just that surviving a traumatic childhood prevents us from learning various things in childhood that we need to learn later in life to be successful. It’s also possible that our brains aren’t developing correctly:
“In brain scans from the people who lived with high stress as children, Birn and Pollak could see a surprisingly low amount of activity in the brain region expected to light up when confronted by a potential loss.
“And then, when they would lose, we’d see more activity than expected—an overreaction—in the part of the brain that responds to reward,” Pollak says, “which makes sense. If you didn’t catch the cue that you were likely to lose, you’re probably going to be pretty shocked when you don’t win.”
This is something that bears watching, because it impacts how we treat adult survivors and the systems of punishment we put in place to try and teach them about risky behavior. We assume that taking a risk, and losing, teaches us about evaluating risks better, but for many survivors, this might not be true.