ADOTAS — Social network dementia was last week’s news. This week, the brains of young users will be rewired, dooming them to stare at their own reflection for eternity.
OK, not really like Narcissus from Greek mythology. But according to neuroscientist Susan GreenField, sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo ashorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred.
‘My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment,” she told the Daily Mail.
Greenfield says repeated exposure to blips of information from fast-paced TV shows, video game and social networking sites might “rewire” the brain. This comes on the heels of Dr. Aric Sigman recently suggesting that a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.
I love this quote from Jeff Brown, a spokesman for Electronic Arts, the major video game maker:
“It seems like a new entertainment medium hasn’t really arrived until a scientist jumps up and says it’s making us all crazy,” he told the WSJ. “Balancing this are studies from equally credentialed researchers that show media like videogames actually enhance problem solving and other complex brain activity…I’ll wait to read her study on her Facebook page.”