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.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      clearly videogames have warped you so much you can’t recognise what a hot piece that is

  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.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      Calling water ‘hydrogen dioxide’ will only convince people that you’re no good at chemistry.

    • thegooseking says:

      I think most people who use the term hydrogen dioxide are in fact referring to dihydrogen dioxide (more commonly known as hydrogen peroxide, or “oxygenated water”).

      But I really am no good at chemistry.

    • Unaco says:

      I think most people calling water Hydrogen Dioxide (HO2) are trying to be funny, but are failing bad… It’s Dihydrogen Monoxide, H2O, that they mean to say. Also, they probably are pretty terrible at Chemistry.

      And for those who don’t know what we’re talking about… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihydrogen_monoxide_hoax

    • Jumwa says:

      You got me on an early morning slipup. Thanks for the corrections.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The exciting world of Chemistry never sleeps!

  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. Premium User Badge

    Josh Brandt says:

    Is her NAME “Baroness?”

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

    Also, “COBRAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

    • Premium User Badge

      Josh Brandt says:

      Oh, I see. Everyone just refers to her by her title. Well, okay. You silly foreign people and your silly aristocracy.

      The “COBRAAAAA” comment stands, though.

  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? ‘

    • Premium User Badge

      Josh Brandt says:

      WON’T YOU THINK OF THE HORSES????

    • xGryfter says:

      I’m on a horse!

    • Zarunil says:

      I try to spend at least 2 hours every day on a horse. Keeps me from shorting out my brain from all these video games.

      My one shortcoming is not spending enough time on trains. WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO FAR TO THE NEAREST STATION!?

    • Dozer says:

      Imagination fail, Zarunil. You could easily be playing games on a netbook or 3DS or iPhone while sitting on a horse on board a train. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL.

    • Srethron says:

      Shut up, woman. Get on my horse.

  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.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Dear Fucking Lord Almighty, a part of me died inside reading that jamie_macnab fellow’s responses…

      That is some amazing trolling. Gotta take notes.

    • Dozer says:

      What you say? Just imagine he’s speaking in the voice of the head of the Epsilon Program from GTA:San Andreas:

    • aerozol says:

      Yeah, that guy is crazy…
      Reminds me why I never got into political (or any) arguments with grandparents. I’m so glad they don’t comment on things : S

    • ZephyrSB says:

      I think my mind just shut down reading that guy’s comments.

      Both in their utterly stupifying nature and having my mind blown to the possibility of combining trolling with 19th century prose.

  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.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      When I heard The Baroness was being featured in the Sun, I was hoping she would be on page 3.

  21. Premium User Badge

    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.