FEATURE27 February 2017

Inside a neuroscientist’s mind

x Sponsored content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

AI Features Healthcare Impact Youth

Baroness Susan Greenfield finds time between searching for a treatment for Alzheimer’s, attending the House of Lords and writing books to talk to Jane Bainbridge about research, consciousness and why a generation is being changed by social media and computer games


Baroness Susan Greenfield didn’t set out to be a scientist, never mind a neuroscientist, and her interest in the brain was more accidental than intentional. Indeed, she hated science at school, complaining it was full of facts and lacking creativity and imagination. “Whereas history and literature were all about things that a schoolgirl cares about – why wars start; why people fall in love; what is an individual?” she explains. 

But life can take unexpected twists. Having embarked on a philosophy degree at Oxford, she switched to psychology, and it was then that the brain started to pique her interest. Greenfield describes Oxford in the 1970s as “a hoot” and, in keeping with that tone, her tutor decided it would be “a laugh” if she became a scientist – so her path as a scientist was set. 

Perhaps her ability to avoid being pigeon-holed in those formative years accounts for her particular approach to neuroscience; why she’s as interested in ...