Brain expert Baroness Susan Greenfield aims to counter-act impacts of a screen world

"While everyone is applauds multi-tasking, I mandate sequence: having a beginning, middle and end," said Baroness Greenfield.
"While everyone is applauds multi-tasking, I mandate sequence: having a beginning, middle and end," said Baroness Greenfield.

EXERCISING, cooking, gardening and reading are the seemingly simple activities a world leading neuroscientist wants to reintroduce to people's lives.

Baroness Susan Greenfield says the linear nature of such activities can enhance thought process and can counteract the dangers of being too stuck in the immediacy of a "screen world".

Having a beginning, middle and end is important for greater perspective and what Baroness Greenfield said was the birthright of a healthy, human race.

TIME TO THINK: Baroness Susan Greenfield, an internationally renowned neuroscientist, says we need to get out of the 'screen time' present and multi-tasking and re-learn how to think more effectively. Picture: Kate Healy

TIME TO THINK: Baroness Susan Greenfield, an internationally renowned neuroscientist, says we need to get out of the 'screen time' present and multi-tasking and re-learn how to think more effectively. Picture: Kate Healy

Baroness Greenfield focused on how to reduce harms on the brain as guest speaker for Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health's first community event on Friday night.

The modern reliance on screen-time is having a bigger impact on human brain than any major technological advancement in past centuries is an argument Baroness Greenfield said most people accepted with so many activities online - dating, shopping, working and playing games.

If people are living too much in the present, their mind ricochets off the world around them.

"While everyone is applauds multi-tasking, I mandate sequence: having a beginning, middle and end," Baroness Greenfield said.

"There is a quote....thinking is movement confined to the brain. When you're experiencing a raw feeling, you're in a moment. Thinking is about the past, present and future."

Baroness Greenfield was concerned we would lose this thinking process if too wrapped up in screen time.

When it comes to maintaining brain plasticity, Baroness Greenfield promoted the use it or lose it principle with exercising the brain forming more connections and personalisation in individuals. She said the mind was not an "airy fairy" think but essentially what personalises us.

Baroness Greenfield said looking at such brain functioning, along with cyber environment impacts, could suggest people becoming more like robots. Instead in children, research was finding fragile social temperament, struggles with the abstract and a lack of critical thinking.

Her solution was to encourage people to get involved in activities like cooking and gardening where there were wait periods to proceed, or sports which also have physical benefits.

They're very simple things I'd like to reintroduce to people's lives and enhance thinking.

"Reading involves lots of thinking. We like stories because they take us to a time and place we otherwise would not reach and we can go back and forth between time and place," Baroness Greenfield said.

"For small children it's rehearsing imagination and concentration for long periods of time and it's telling life stories."

BIRCH executive director Mark Yates. Picture: Kate Healy

BIRCH executive director Mark Yates. Picture: Kate Healy

BIRCH is a collaboration between St John of God Ballarat Hospital, Ballarat Health Services, Federation University, Australian Catholic University, Notre Dame University, Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University.

The alliance aims to bring internationally renowned speakers to Ballarat for community forums to challenge thinking and ideas.