There are some scientists who are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative effects of long-term, widespread computer usage, brought about primarily by the rise of the Internet and immersive video games.
The only problem is that there’s very little good quality research that suggests this is so.
That hasn’t stopped neuroscientists like Susan Greenfield, a renowned UK scientist, from presenting a very one-sided, biased picture about this topic. Oh, and of course, from promoting her book about identity in the age of technology. The problem is, once you start cloaking things in the language of the brain, you start sounding like you’re talking “science” and know far more than the science actually shows, as Bad Science points out:
There is much talk of the “prefrontal cortex.” Regular readers will remember fascinating research from Yale in 2008 showing that the use of neurosciencey language can make an uninformative and circular argument appear more plausible to a lay audience.
There is at this time very little definitive data (and really very little data at all) that shows negative effects of computer usage in actual brain structures or brain development. In fact, as Mind Hacks points out, there’s more research that actually show slight benefits of online experiences. There’s certainly not enough evidence to start making broad, population-wide proclamations about this issue one way or the other. Unless you’re more interested in pursuing a particular political or ideological agenda, one not based upon the empirical literature.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 May 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2009). Computers Rotting Our Brains?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/05/18/computers-rotting-our-brains/