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Google: An External Hard Drive for Our Memory

November 26th, 2019 1 comment

Have you ever tried to share a random tidbit of information you know that you should remember and just totally failed to recall it? Have you ever gotten in the car to drive across town and realized you’d have to consult the internet for the address? Or, have you ever zoned out in class because you know you can just check Wikipedia to catch up once you get the study guide for the next exam? You might have fallen victim to what psychologists have come to recognize as the Google Effect. We walk around with our smartphones in hand and laptops in our bags, knowing the internet is always available, so why should we bother remembering something we can just look up later? Due to the constant availability of the internet, in modern times, individuals are increasingly failing to encode information and instead, have encoded one simple fact: I can Google it later.

Is Google consuming your mind?

Searching for things on the internet has become commonplace, whenever we need an answer, we simply type a few key words into a search bar and in under seconds there are billions of results available to answer our question. We rely on this resource to such a great degree we often feel lost or experience withdrawal when we can’t instantly access the endless information held on the internet. Individuals are rarely entirely offline, unless by choice. Due to the increasing presence of technology in our everyday lives, the internet has become a sort of external hard drive that our brains are adapting to rely on. Believe it or not, as evidenced by the Google Effect, the internet is causing the cognitive process of retrieving information from memory to occur in a different manner.

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