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Search engines are affecting our memories; and in other news, search engines affect memory!

August 19th, 2011

searchA recent paper published in Science magazine, suggests that the use of internet search engines is changing how our memories store information. (‘Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips,’ Sparrow et al., 333 (6043): 776-778). We are more likely, according to the authors of this study, to forget information we know can easily be found via internet search engines. We remember where and how to find out this information with ease, but forget the information itself.  This suggests that the internet has become a source of external transactive memory for those with easy access to its information.
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