Internet Changes How We Remember

We're relying more on search engines now
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2011 7:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – Why remember something if you can Google it? Researchers exploring that question have concluded that computers and search engines are changing the way human memory works, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Essentially, people in the experiments were less likely to remember a piece of trivia if they knew they could look it up later. "Human memory is adapting to new communications technology," Columbia University's Betsy Sparrow tells the New York Times. She calls it the Google Effect.

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Ed Oswald's take at PC World: "The debate over whether the Internet is making us stupid has been around almost as long as the Internet itself. Depending on how you interpret Sparrow's remarks, you could say that yes, the Internet is making us stupid—or, you could say that we're just using Google and other search engines as an extension of our brains." Think of the Google Effect as "outsourcing our memories," writes Denise Mann at WebMd. (Read more memory stories.)

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