Susan Greenfield: Living online is changing our brains

New Scientist | August 3, 2011

By Frank Swain

We need to talk about how the digital world might be changing our brains, says the neuroscientist and former director of the UK’s Royal Institution

You think that digital technology is having an impact on our brains. How do you respond to those who say there’s no evidence for this?
When people say there is no evidence, you can turn that back and say, what kind of evidence would you imagine there would be? Are we going to have to wait for 20 years and see that people are different from previous generations? Sometimes you can’t just go into a lab and get the evidence overnight. I think there are enough pointers that we should be talking about this rather than stressing about not being able to replicate things in a lab instantly.

So what evidence is there?
There is lots of evidence, for example, the recent paper “Microstructure abnormalities in adolescents with internet addiction disorder” in the journal PLoS One. We know the human brain can change and the environment can change it.

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