Your Brain on Computers

Discussions of the non-monetary values of nature. A majority of people think nature’s benefits for people are very important and most want the value of those benefits calculated in terms other than monetary.

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Your Brain on Computers

Post by edfrank » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:03 pm

Your Brain on Computers
Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain
Published: August 15, 2010 ... I%2Fd349YA
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?
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.

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."


"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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