This is your brain on Disney

If a dream is a wish your heart makes, then your brain must be doing something right.

Recent research published in the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology examines the effect that Disney has on neurological development.  The paper, written by University of Missouri professor Craig T. Palmer, refutes a previous hypothesis of the neurological development of creativity, storytelling, humor, and fantasy within the human brain.  Deemed the mating mind hypothesis, it suggested that our minds developed these artistic centers as a way to attract and court the opposite sex. (Sounds pretty reasonable to me.)  Courting leads to reproduction, which then leads to stabilizing evolution providing for larger centers in the brain relating to those traits.

To refute this statement, Palmer used the concrete example of Disneyland to compare it to.   Now I don’t know if Palmer actually wanted to refute the hypothesis or just find some sort of research that would allow him to spend an ample amount of his time in the park, but this guy knows how to pick a thesis. Palmer said that the development of these sections in the brain were actually more related to the parenting strategies used to tweak the behavior of their children.  The characteristics are seen as more of a transmission of culture rather than as a means for natural selection.  It would just so happen to be that those that were wittier and had a love for all things Disney would reproduce (giving hope to Disney fanatics everywhere).

So what does this mean in the long run?  It means that if you want your kids to listen to you and grow up to be respectable adults, looks like you’re heading to Disneyland.  So when you’re trying to find that new parenting technique to discipline an unruly child, just listen to Pinocchio and, “always let your conscience be your guide.”


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