The grass is always greener

Photo by Flickr user massimo ankor. Click for source.If you’re a neuroscience fan, Marketing magazine has a somewhat depressing report of a Susan Greenfield speech to the travel industry at the ABTA conference in Croatia.

It’s sad for two reasons. Firstly The Baroness is still pursuing the same bizarre and evidence-free line that the internet causes all sorts of brain curdling problems and even doubles down on her odd claim that there’s a link with autism:

“People who are not good at interpersonal skills anyway are on the autistic spectrum disorder, they spend a lot of time in the cyber world. Sadly there are a lot of links between this disorder and compulsive video game use.”

She also says some very strange things about the effects of video games and what gamers are like:

They will have a higher IQ because we know that video game rehearsal repeats all the mental agility that is required of IQ tests. However, being good at mental processing without being able to make connections or understand context doesn’t mean to say that you understand about Syria or the economic problems of the world.

Playing video games means you don’t understand the complex situation in the Middle East? An outrageous claim. Has she never played Call of Duty 4?

However, it’s also a little sad because she’s now doing presumably paid talks to travel conferences to say that while technology damages the brain, travel is good for it.

Greenfield was genuinely one of my scientific heroes and motivated me to get into neuroscience through her talks. And now, it’s all gone a bit Donkey Kong.

Link to The Baroness on the cyberapocalypse / holiday cure.

4 thoughts on “The grass is always greener”

  1. You have to tailor your talks to your audience.
    Do you think she’d make this same presentation at a Society of Neuroscience meeting?

    With tens of thousands of neuroscience papers published every year, is it possible the Baroness might have read studies you haven’t?

  2. “What leaders do is set a vision. In travel, this wonderful thing that your selling is an experience. We need to go back to the idea that the mind is uniquely shaped by the environment, and the idea that travel broadens the mind.”

    “You can give people a sense of identity by giving them unique experiences, which helps to make them unique. They have a unique story to tell because they have gone there, they have done it.

    “A journey is like a mini little life; it has a beginning, a middle and an end, you end up in a different place and journeys, like stories, are integral to the human psyche so if you can sell people a sense of purpose – rather than just being in the moment – finally you can give people new ideas.”

    – Baroness Susan Greenfield

    What about travelling to Ibiza for the Balearic experience?

    Or is that just Pete Tong?

  3. I wonder what first got Greenfield onto this line of thinking. Anyhow, the L.A. Times is now refusing to publish letters from climate change deniers. Will other news sources have the courage to follow? Making scientific statements with no evidence should be discouraged.

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