Study indicates memory is altered by the Internet

Posted on January 27, 2012


A recent study indicates that the memory is being replaced by the Internet, as we become increasingly reliant on Google for answers. United States researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia University and Harvard University have conducted a study which shows that we know where to source information, although we don’t remember the information found.

According to the research, when we require information we reach for the Internet, using it as a sort of external memory drive, just as the external hard drive on a computer may be used. The study also revealed that when laptops, smartphones and other technological gadgets are unavailable, people display withdrawal symptoms if they can’t find the answer to a query immediately.

During some of the tests, the results indicated that if participants believed that facts could be searched for later, they wouldn’t bother to memorise them. The researchers state that the Internet and Google have become a part of everyday lives, available 24 hours every day. One researcher admitted that it was difficult to remember how information was found before Google and the Internet arrived. If people want to locate an old friend, or discover facts about an actor they can just look it up on the Internet. The paper reads:

“When faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it.”

Just as the study shows, Google plays a huge role in everyday life and discovery of information, which is why it is primarily included in the search engine optimisation of any business.

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