HIGHLY POTENT NEWS THAT MIGHT CHANGE YOUR VIEWS

The dark side of social media: Baroness Susan Greenfield says social media is rewiring our brains

news.com.au
Nov 17, 2014

Baroness Susan Greenfield is a brain scientist who says time spent with electronic devices is rewiring the brain. Source: News Limited

WE’RE all guilty of it. We’re at the pub, dinner table or enjoying a fun arvo with a group of friends and, instead of talking to the people we’re with, we’re preoccupied with our phones.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, video games and — dare I say it — news.com.au all provide endless distractions, as well as more opportunities to share, connect and spout your views than ever before.

But what effect is this having on us? More crucially, how is it affecting our brains?

Renowned British neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield says modern technology is not only changing the way we interact, it is changing the wiring in our brain.

Professor Greenfield, who is also a member of the British upper house, says the hyper-connectedness of today’s youth gives them shorter attention spans and makes them more narcissistic, more susceptible to depression and anxiety, and less empathetic.

“The mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity,” she told parliament in 2009.

Her interest in the subject has culminated in her book Mind Change, released in August, in which she argues:

● That social media is affecting our sense of identity and ability to empathise,

● That video games are shortening attention spans, and increasing our recklessness and aggression, and

● That search engines are making us confuse information for knowledge.

Prof Greenfield says that the brain is exquisitely designed to adapt to its environment and, because technology has created a vastly changed social environment, it follows that our brains may also being changing in an unprecedented way.

What effect does our addiction to screens have on the way we relate to each other?

What effect does our addiction to screens have on the way we relate to each other? Source: Supplied

She argues that today’s youth are developing in a world where relationships are increasingly formed online, which means we are less able to rehearse important social skills.

“Human beings love talking about themselves. Nature has developed body language so you can be sure that your interaction is reasonably secure, and you don’t make yourself vulnerable, through eye contact, gestures and pheromones,” Prof Greenfield told news.com.au.

But words — the primary means through which people interact on social media — make up only 10 per cent of the impact made when you meet someone.

“If you are not rehearsing those visual clues, you are going to be at a disadvantage,” Prof Greenfield said.

She said people were much more likely to insult others online because they didn’t have those cues.

“If someone says ‘I hate you’ to someone’s face, they may not say it again because the way it makes that person feel may be extremely hurtful, which can give the person who said it a physiological churning,” Prof Greenfield said.

“Those constraints are not available on social networking. You don’t have that handbrake … That’s what I’m concerned about.”

[…CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE]

[hat tip: Neil Sanders]

Advertisements

3 responses

  1. Reblogged this on SherayxWeblog.

    Like

    November 19, 2014 at 9:34 PM

  2. garyhoadley

    An old bloke I met, said since having a computer, and searching the world on the internet, he had forgotten about his ailments and realised just how wonderful life is.
    He’s still a miserable old git, but a wiser one….

    Like

    November 20, 2014 at 11:36 AM

  3. Reblogged this on The Book Of Trev and commented:
    This is great, this is why I decided to leave social media like Facebook. All the words I’ve wanted to express, were done by this writer.

    Perfect

    Like

    November 20, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s