Gaming Brain: Expert Response To Greenfield

By John Walker on October 17th, 2011 at 3:23 pm.

I'll get you next time, Dean Burnett.

On Friday, when I was off having better things to do that pick apart another misleading and harmful series of half-truths and outright nonsense about the horrors of videogaming, Jim put things rather more succinctly. Baroness Von Greenfield continued her sad descent from being respected by anyone, and once more proved that a lot of knowledge combined with absolutely no knowledge at all is a dangerous and embarrassingly biased thing. Rather splendidly, the Telegraph’s Tom Chivers sought the expert opinion of a real expert, one Dr Dean Burnett of Cardiff University, who has written a statement-by-statement riposte to the obfuscated scaremongering Greenback offered. It’s well worth a read, not just because it offers balanced, educated views on the effects of gaming on the brain, but also because it’s a darned good, educational read in its own right.

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44 Comments »

  1. Nice Save says:

    That is one scary mugshot.

  2. magnus says:

    Greenfield just loves the camera doesn’t she?

  3. Tuco says:

    Interesting read.

  4. Jumwa says:

    It’s an amusing read, I’d say.

    The whole thing reminding me of silly games kids would play, “Your epidermis is showing!” Or calling water “hydrogen dioxide” to convince someone some product was truly bad for them or needed to be banned.

  5. JackShandy says:

    Greenfield-isms, go!

    I point to the rise of nazi germany – I point to the rise of jazz. That is all.

  6. Jinnigan says:

    As an American reading the comments on the Telegraph, I’m floored that you Brits actually type + talk like that. Y’all are crazy.

  7. ts061282 says:

    Don’t feed the troll politicians.

  8. James Allen says:

    I give up. What is that screenshot from?

  9. magnus says:

    I think the words you’re all thinking of is, ‘Media Whore’

  10. telpscorei says:

    Isn’t she also releasing some games herself soon? To “combat” the “evil” brain happenings?

  11. Skabooga says:

    I mouse hovered over the picture of Greenfield in the telegraph article, for a moment expecting to see some witty alt-text. But my sincere thanks to Tom Chivers, Dean Burnett, and RPS for making known a reasoned counter-point.

  12. cobacel says:

    OMG ! Reading the comment on those sites makes me realise how stupid can people be . Not only do they agree with the story , they really believe games are frying our brains .

    I’ve been playing games all my life , I’m a loner , nerd , I play 10 hours a DAY , hardly sleep . THis has been going on for about 13 years . I’m still normal , my attention span is quite high . And I go out from time to time with the few friends that I have ( few but more than enough ).

  13. westyfield says:

    Burnett also posted a longer, more snarky version on his own blog.
    http://sciencedigestive.blogspot.com/2011/10/dont-read-this-itll-destroy-your-brain.html

  14. Tams80 says:

    Loving the humour and snark. =D

  15. Josh Brandt says:

    Is her NAME “Baroness?”

    Her parents need a good talking-to. That’s just asking for trouble.

    Also, “COBRAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

  16. Pointless Puppies says:

    “If you play computer games to the exclusion of other things this will create a new environment that will have new effects … every hour you spend in front of a screen is an hour not spent climbing a tree or giving someone a hug.”

    This was the stupidest part of Greenfield’s “argument” by far.

    Oh, hey, crazy lady. Welcome to the wonderful world of “opportunity cost”. It is a basic principle that rules over every single human being’s life, where doing any action inherently prevents you from doing another.

    To put it in terms that are relevant to your scenario, every hour you spend writing horseshit articles is an hour not spent climbing a tree or giving someone a hug.

  17. Stormtamer says:

    Quote of the article for me:
    ‘And yes, every hour you spend in front of a screen is an our not spent climbing a tree or giving someone a hug. And every hour you spend on a train is not spent on a horse. What of it? ‘

  18. QualityJeverage says:

    Good lord.

    Reading the comments on that article was…baffling. I sat for five minutes, wanting to type something, and having no words. That “Jamie_macnab” fellow is an actual person. There is a person, in the world, who thinks that way and says those things earnestly.

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  19. Durkan says:

    Utterly brilliant reply…

    I have to say Greenfield makes me sad.

    Her’s are the words of some jumped up MP with th IQ of a house brick who’s just trying to make whatever point gets them the most airtime next.

    As a “Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology”, she should, quite frankly – know much better.

    • Wheelsner says:

      Sad indeed. Excellent comment piece (though the original on the author’s website is considerably funnier). Unfortunately Greenfield’s total loss of plot (and with it any shreds of reputation as, well, you know an acutal scientist) has been brewing for some time….see her 2002ish media blitz re the harms of cannabis.

      Note. Not that I’m arguing for or against recreational cannabis use, simply that for roughly the last 10 years PROFESSOR Greenfield has been adopting in public a level of critical analysis and ability to analyse and represent research data the would get many a science undergraduate (or medical student for that matter) a fail on their coursework and a little word with their tutor.

  20. Roshin says:

    The baroness can blow my mind any time she wants to.

  21. sonofsanta says:

    it’s annoying how people (scientists in particular) will use long-winded, verbose methods of describing something in order confuse people, and attribute a meaning to it which suits their arguments. In this case, the phrase “high arousal, which in turn activates the brain system’s underlying addiction and reward, resulting in the attraction of yet more … activity” is more commonly known as ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyment’.

    That is the politest and funniest put down I have read in a good long while. Brilliant.

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