We live in a world unimaginable only decades ago: a domain of backlit screens, instant information, and vibrant experiences that can outcompete dreary reality. Our brave new technologies offer incredible opportunities for work and play. But at what price?
Now renowned neuroscientist Susan Greenfield—known in the United Kingdom for challenging entrenched conventional views—brings together a range of scientific studies, news events, and cultural criticism to create an incisive snapshot of “the global now.” Disputing the assumption that our technologies are harmless tools, Greenfield explores whether incessant exposure to social media sites, search engines, and videogames is capable of rewiring our brains, and whether the minds of people born before and after the advent of the Internet differ.
Stressing the impact on Digital Natives—those who’ve never known a world without the Internet—Greenfield exposes how neuronal networking may be affected by unprecedented bombardments of audiovisual stimuli, how gaming can shape a chemical landscape in the brain similar to that in gambling addicts, how surfing the Net risks placing a premium on information rather than on deep knowledge and understanding, and how excessive use of social networking sites limits the maturation of empathy and identity.
But Mind Change also delves into the potential benefits of our digital lifestyle. Sifting through the cocktail of not only threat but opportunity these technologies afford, Greenfield explores how gaming enhances vision and motor control, how touch tablets aid students with developmental disabilities, and how political “clicktivism” foments positive change.
In a world where adults spend ten hours a day online, and where tablets are the common means by which children learn and play, Mind Change reveals as never before the complex physiological, social, and cultural ramifications of living in the digital age. A book that will be to the Internet what An Inconvenient Truth was to global warming, Mind Change is provocative, alarming, and a call to action to ensure a future in which technology fosters—not frustrates—deep thinking, creativity, and true fulfillment.
Praise for Mind Change
“Greenfield’s application of the mismatch between human and machine to the brain introduces an important variation on this pervasive view of technology. . . . She has a rare talent for explaining science in accessible prose.”—The Washington Post
“Greenfield’s focus is on bringing to light the implications of Internet-induced ‘mind change’—as comparably multifaceted as the issue of climate change, she argues, and just as important.”—Chicago Tribune
“Mind Change is exceedingly well organized and hits the right balance between academic and provocative.”—Booklist
“[A] challenging, stimulating perspective from an informed neuroscientist on a complex, fast-moving, hugely consequential field.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Greenfield] is not just an engaging communicator but a thoughtful, responsible scientist, and the arguments she makes are well-supported and persuasive.”—Mail on Sunday
“Greenfield’s admirable goal to prove an empirical basis for discussion is . . . an important one.”—Financial Times
“An important presentation of an uncomfortable minority position.”—Jaron Lanier, Nature