Google impacts our memory

Google impacts our memory

Our brain used to store important information. The capability to filter irrelevant from relevant information and to only store relevant information enabled the human race to survive. However, today we are less dependent on memorizing information. After all, we can access information almost instantaneously, everywhere and anytime, using search engines like Google on our smart devices.

Research done at Columbia University found that the instant availability of information outside of our brain, has impact on our memory. When people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall for where to access the information instead.

The internet has become a primary form of external or transactional memory. The human memory recall is flawed. And is this good or bad?

It is within the survival mechanism of the brain to only store relevant information. So if the brain does not have to store information itself, but only the fact where to find the information, the brain may become more efficient. Education is much more than just memorizing facts, dates, formulas, spellings and pronunciations. All very true, but memorization is needed in everyday life. Anyone requiring first aid at the hospital will very much appreciate doctors having accurate top-of-mind knowledge that will enable them to patch you up. And if we are aboard an aircraft, it is quite helpful that the memory of the pilot has stored enough information to ensure that the pilot memorizes the protocol to safely put the plane on the ground again in case of an emergency.

The internet has become a primary form of external or transactional memory

In many case, there is simply no time to google for information. Some information absolutely has to be top-of-mind. Knowing about the Google effect on the memory, we can now look for ways to enhance our memorization. We evolve with our technology, let’s make sure that the way in which we learn evolves in the same way.


Article provided by Drillster

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