Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain
By MATT RICHTEL
Published: August 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/techn ... I%2Fd349YA
A friend on Facebook posted this link to an older article from the New York Time today. Overall it is a good read, and even has a video. It is a part of a series on the subject of the effects of data deluge on our brains.GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Utah — Todd Braver emerges from a tent nestled against the canyon wall. He has a slight tan, except for a slim pale band around his wrist. For the first time in three days in the wilderness, Mr. Braver is not wearing his watch. “I forgot,” he says. It is a small thing, the kind of change many vacationers notice in themselves as they unwind and lose track of time. But for Mr. Braver and his companions, these moments lead to a question: What is happening to our brains?
One passage gave me pause. It reads: "It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects. " It sounds as if they were pursuing the premise premise that digital devices were bad for your brain and there was a need to reverse this effect by going out in nature. This is the opposite of what should be done in a scientific study - the idea is not to prove a pre-drawn conclusion, but to collect data and use that data to draw your conclusion. I am not disagreeing that nature has a wonderful curative effect, but I am wondering to what degree this approach has tainted their conclusions? If you go into a situation determined to find evidence for an existing conclusion, you will find it whether it is actually there or not. It is a type of self-fulfilling prophecy. I wonder many of their observations are really a result of this process? I am hoping that this was simply the misinformed phrasing of the reporter who wrote the article rather than the philosophy of the "research."