Search More, Remember Less?
According to a recent study published in Science, people who rely on technology to store important information are remembering less. It makes sense…how many phone numbers have you memorized? Now ask your parents –or someone without speed dial– how many phone numbers they know by heart.
The research presented in the article Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips indicates that relying on the Internet or an external hard drive to save facts and data for you makes you less likely to exercise your powers of memorization. One implication of this finding is that young people today are more likely to forget things that past generations would have committed to memory. (You can read the full text of the article in print at the Library in the Periodical Collection in the Aug. 5, 2011 issue of Science.)
For a thought-provoking editorial on how the Internet has changed not just our style of communication but also our cognition, see Andy Burkhardt’s blog post on Information Tyrannosaur, Outsourcing Our Memories To Google.
For a laugh-provoking take, check out Stephen Colbert’s “The Word” from Tues. August 9, 2011.