Baroness Susan Greenfield has launched an attack on the IT industry, claiming it – along with the games industry – are fuelling the obesity crisis.
Speaking to a science seminar at the House of Lords, the peer said that use of computers and video games were 'infantilising', changing the way it work and promoting obesity in the process, reports the Telegraph.
She said that the nature of IT and games and the ability to just restart when a error was made, was changing the way the brain worked, claiming a child who fell out of a tree would not make the make the same mistake again, but a computer user or gamer would.
As a result, she claimed that people would continue to eat too much, or eat the wrong foods, due to a lower recognition of cause and consequence. She added this also had the impact of cutting attention spans and 'stifling empathy and imagination'.
She argued that it meant that the parts of the brain that promote those processes would not be able to develop properly. "You use it or lose it," she said. "And if you don't use it, you are infantilising the brain, it won't come on stream as much, that's the hypothesis."
Much of the argument hinged on research that showed that damage to the pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for higher-thought – it becomes less active and makes people more likely to take risks. The fatter people are – she claimed – the less that part of the brain is active.