Designed for learning

learning – teaching – research – design – technology

facebook will eat your brain

update: I don’t mean to suggest that this is what Susan Greenfield actually said. I have no knowledge of that. This only refers to the media recounting of her message.

or your children’s. so saith neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, according to the Daily Mail (ht @josiefraser).

Typical neuro-media: “Games make children violent” is not news. We’ve seen that one before, and probably by now most people are over it. But hey – we’re not talking about behaviour. We’re talking about your kids’ Brain. Let me spell it out: washing the dishes changes your brain. Dumping the rubish changes your brain. Its called memory, learning, experience. Anything you do that leaves the tiniest imprint, well, changes your brain, duh.

Ok, so we’re back to “social networks / video games make you Autistic, narcisistic, hyperactive, ADD, violent” (Lady Greenfield pretty much says it all) but hey, someone did some fMRi to prove that? wow. this is interesting! er, not exactly:

‘I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues’

Lady Greenfield told the Lords a teacher of 30 years had told her she had noticed a sharp decline in the ability of her pupils to understand others.

She pointed out that autistic people, who usually find it hard to communicate, were particularly comfortable using computers.

Hard-core science. My favourite is the bit about Autism. I mean, are you suggesting that it is an acquired deficiency, or that FaceBook is affecting our genes? Or maybe this is a matter of natural selection? Survival of the fittest for facebook? Never mind evidence. What exactly is the argument here?

One more thing, can’t help noticing the imagery.

Exhibit A: Mark Zuckerberg. Young, American CEO. Grinning in a corporate frame. He will steal your kids souls and sell them to shareholders wholesale.

Exhibit B: robot child, faceless. lonely. surrounded by electronics. mechanical pose. Looks like we’ve lost this one.

Exhibit C: the concerned Lady Greenberg. Closeup, kind eyes, gentle smile. Lots of books in the background – hardcovers, of course. Our saintly mother, she will save us.

And they say bloggers rejoice in low standards. (ht @kevglobal) (and ta @clarionjulie for reminding me to add the link)


February 25, 2009 - Posted by | games, neuroscience, Social Software


  1. Sure, but it’s quite important to look into the implications of technology use on our identities (our mind brains) innit.

    I understand that a lot of social biology-type stuff is thought to be flimsy – particularly by physical scientists – but I think Susan Greenfield is misunderstood. By the Daily Mail, this is almost inevitable. Have a look at a my notes on a recent presentation, and there may be a recording available later on the linked site.

    Comment by fleshisgrass | February 25, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] I supose this was expected. The Susan Greenfield story is going through the usual dance moves, with the old media and new media playing their typecast […]

    Pingback by brainbook roundup « Designed for learning | February 25, 2009 | Reply

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