Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our brain is doing what?

Santa delivered a Wii at our house this year. It's red and pretty and it can keep us occupied for hours. We can play tennis, baseball, golf, boxing, even go bowling without leaving our living room. Not to mention we can now watch movies through the internet. What can I say? It's one handy piece of technology.

My daughter also received (as a gift from my sister and her husband) a Rubix Cube . Remember those? In all honesty, I didn't even know they still made those. I was probably my daughter's age (9) when my sister got one. She was a teenager then and the Cube was all the rage. If you could solve it, you were a genius!

So Candace asked me what she was suppose to do with it. I explained to her what the objective of this game was, and that, while she tried to solve the cube, her brain would be making new connections, neurons would interact with one another, the whole brain synopsis would be happening, I was just explaining brain science to her, when she looked at it, and decided "it is too hard".

I was doing the dishes ( I do my best thinking when I do dishes) and realized this generation, my kids' generation, is growing up in world where movies no longer come in VHS or even DVDs; where they don't have to leave the comfort of their home in order to play golf, and where life can happen in a virtual world. Then I wonder, is that good for them, for their brains?

When I was a kid, we imagined everything. Leaves were actually paper money, and we used sticks, empty jars and cans and anything else we could find to play. We didn't own a Nintendo, or had electronic games. iPods? Ha! That was something out of the Jetsons.

Then I came across an article on NPR news. Scientists have determined our brains are shrinking. Yep, shrinking. Of course, as all scientific discoveries, one group of scientists thinks it is a good thing. It means we are getting less aggressive, etc. (you can read the whole article by clicking on the link above). Another group of scientists thinks it's a sign we, humans, are getting dumber. Our world is so technologically advanced we don't need to use our brains as much.

It's hard to say which camp is correct. You can decide for yourself. In the meantime, I will make sure my kids make it to the real bowling alley, tennis court, and tackle that rubik cube until they figure it out. Just doing my part to make sure humanity remains smart.

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