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Is Google making us stupid?

Written by Rosie | 18-Jul-2011 10:37:23

Research in the journal Science has demonstrated how the internet is changing the way we recall information. The research, led by Dr Betsy Sparrow of Columbia University, shows that the internet acts as ‘transactive memory’, ie. it increases the use of external memory sources.

The research demonstrated that when provided a stream of facts, half the participants were requested to /wp-content/uploads/file the information away in computer "folders" and half were told that the facts would be erased, so must be memorised.

Upon being asked to recall the facts, those who knew the information would not be available later performed significantly better than those who /wp-content/uploads/filed the information away. This increased use of transactive memory, backs up the theory we are starting to remember the location of information rather than the information itself.  Is this making us stupid, or just changing the way we think?

According to Dr Sparrow "We're just changing the way that we're remembering things... If you can find stuff online even while you're walking down the street these days, then the skill to have, the thing to remember, is where to go to find the information.”

So in answer to the original question ‘Is Google making us stupid?’, I’ll just look up the answer and get back to you.