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Google, Yahoo and other search engines affecting memory, study says

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by micropage7, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. micropage7

    micropage7

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    Google may be changing the way our brains remember information, according to research released Thursday.

    In a series of experiments, Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow and her colleagues produced evidence that people are more likely to remember things they do not think they can find using a computer and vice versa. In addition, people are better at remembering where to look for information on the Internet than they are remembering the information itself, the studies found..

    “Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganizing the way we remember things,”Sparrow said in a news release issued with the research, which was published in a paper in the journal Science. “Our brains rely on the Internet for memory in much the same way they rely on the memory of a friend, family member or co-worker. We remember less through knowing information itself than by knowing where the information can be found.”

    In the paper, titled, “Google Effects on Memory: Consequences of having information at our Fingertips,” the researchers described a set of four experiments. In the first, the researchers asked 46 Harvard University undergraduates a series of true-false questions such as, ”An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain,” and then showed them words in different colors. When the words were related to the Internet, such as Google or Yahoo, the students responded more slowly, indicating they were already thinking about browsing the Web for the answers.

    The researchers then gave 60 students 40 statements and asked them to type the information on a computer. Those who were told the information would be saved had a much harder time remembering the statements than those who were told it would be erased.

    In the third test, 28 Columbia students were asked a series of trivia questions and allowed to take notes. The students who were told the information would be saved in one of six computer folders had a harder time remembering the information than those who were told it would be erased. In the last experiment, 34 Columbia undergrads were told the information would be saved in various files with names like “Facts,” “Data” and “Names.” The students remembered the file names better than the information itself, the researchers found.

    The findings show “there is no doubt that our strategies are shifting in learning,” Roddy Roediger, a psychologist at Washington University, told Science in an accompanying article. “Why remember something if I know I can look it up again? In some sense, with Google and other search engines, we can offload some of our memory demands onto machines.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-checkup/post/google-yahoo-and-other-search-engines-affecting-memory-study-says/2011/07/14/gIQAuSabEI_blog.html
    or
    http://news.columbia.edu/googlememory
    or
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/health/15memory.html?_r=1
     
    Jack Doph says thanks.
  2. syeef

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    True, now I can't remember most of the spellings I knew back in 5th grade.
     
  3. Rowsol

    Rowsol

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    Embrace it.
     
  4. manofthem

    manofthem

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    Interesting and understandable Though if someone does forget something they googled or even knew before, they can google it again, no harm done.

    But what's being missed is the effort it takes to find valuable and reliable information on the internet, not just finding information. Perhaps we don't remember as much as would if we read a book about it, but our other senses are being sharpened, those required to sift through all the garbage the google shares.
     
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  5. trickson

    trickson OH, I have such a headache

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    Hold on, I need to Google for a response.
     
  6. Inceptor

    Inceptor

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    That's a little depressing.
    But not surprising. Students are learning that it's not necessary to commit something to long term memory; they can just do the search again when they need the information. Not everyone is like that though... just most people ;)
    Then again, the vast majority of kids who go to University shouldn't be there anyway, and should be applying themselves more productively at Community Colleges, Technical schools, and the Trades.
    So, I take it with a grain of salt. To me it just means that a lot of people were tested that thirty or forty years ago, would not even have been available to test, by a University psychology department.

    It's like the illusion of average IQ scores rising; we're not really getting smarter, its just that the dumb people are not as dumb as they were in the past.
    We're not really losing memory skills to any large extent, it's just that a lot of lazy people who would not have been able to get into university because they did not have the research skills and discipline necessary, are relying on their smartphones and computers to find them the information they need. And it's these people, for the most part, that are being studied.

    The dull, lazy people are not as dull as they used to be.
    *BAM!*
     
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  7. manofthem

    manofthem

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    Like when I went to the doctor on Thursday. The doctor was talking about why I'm sick and how to treat it, he checks some app on his iphone for what to perscribe. That doesn't instill confidence in me that he knows what he was doing. Then again, he was Indian... Then again, I think he was a resident... Then again, maybe he was texting...?
     
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  8. Goodman

    Goodman

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    A search engines , what's that? :p
     
  9. Bundy

    Bundy

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    Does this mean that a child in a 3rd world country looses their memory because they are connected to the www?
    Does it also mean that every library that exists is better than a search engine?

    This article is FUD.
     
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  10. nt300

    nt300

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    Google = $500 stock price :eek:
     
  11. KieranD

    KieranD

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    By that logic i am more likely to forget things if i know there is any source nearby, which could include books. Stupid.
     
  12. Inceptor

    Inceptor

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    Fear Uncertainty Doubt? Maybe you should have looked that up :rolleyes:

    That statement is a misuse of logic. You're more likely to retain information if it is more difficult to attain, and less likely to retain it if it is easy to attain. That's the main idea behind the studies. I can tell you from personal experience, it is not 'easy' to have information/knowledge available in book form, not as easy as doing a Google or Wikipedia search and then cross-referencing for verification (which is about as far as most university students go today). And we're talking about actual serious academic/professional information, not normal everyday crap. Having a few hundred densely written books on hand for information retrieval takes time and energy, which implies discipline and a depth of knowledge in the subject being researched. The study is saying that doing an online search is superficial and easy; it doesn't require you to attain the kind of depth and breadth of knowledge, memory retention, or personal investment/interest, in the information for which you are searching.
     
  13. InnocentCriminal

    InnocentCriminal Resident Grammar Amender

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    Kids today all lack a-disciprine...

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Marineborn

    Marineborn New Member

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    i think im gonna start reading more books now.
     
  15. streetfighter 2

    streetfighter 2 New Member

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    You don't need the internet to be misinformed.
     
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  16. kid41212003

    kid41212003

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    bad or good?

    :laugh: absolutely correct
     
  17. Arctucas

    Arctucas

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    Copied and pasted from http://oaks.nvg.org/sa5ra17.html

    ONE OF Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. "You don't remember your own number?" the man asked, startled.

    "No," Einstein answered. "Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?"

    In fact, Einstein claimed never to memorize anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.
     
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