Posts Tagged ‘External Memory’

The Google Effect: Is the web worsening our memory?

November 26th, 2019 No comments

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?

While you may have previously thought that constant access to all of this information is making you smarter, recent research can indicate that this doesn’t actually have anything to do with levels of intelligence. The constant presence of all the information stored on the world wide web is acting as a sort of external hard drive for our memories. Unfortunately, it isn’t that we’re getting smarter, our brains are just utilizing the internet as a sort of tool. The concept of the Google Effect originated in research that showed when people are aware that information is stored elsewhere or can be accessed in an alternative location, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself. Instead, people are remembering where to access the memory rather than the content of the memory (Sparrow, Liu, Wegner, 2011).

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Don’t remember the Google Effect? Don’t worry, you can Google it.

November 25th, 2019 2 comments

Let’s step in the shoes of a typical college student for just a moment (think: Birkenstocks, Vans, or Adidas sneakers). You’re taking 16 credits, volunteering at the local elementary school, working in the library, and participating in countless other extracurriculars. Your brain is constantly moving a million miles a minute.

This is what happens when you’re utilizing a ton of cognitive resources!

In other words? You’re busy. Now let’s imagine you have a sociology paper due at midnight. You want to fine tune your conclusion with more relevant information about affordable housing, but you can’t seem to remember the median household income in Reno, Nevada. “No need to fret!” you think as you pull up the Google homepage on your sticker covered laptop. “Why utilize precious cognitive resources for something that I can quickly type into a search bar?” This, ladies and gentlemen, is the essence of the Google Effect. Read more…

Me, myself, and Google: a brief search into the Google Effect

April 26th, 2018 1 comment

Ahh, Google… My most reliable friend. Google has a constant presence in the life of every human with access to it. Whether I forget basic information, such as the route from my house to the grocery store, or have an urgent question, like exactly how many calories are in a Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse, Google is always there to clear up any confusion. With search engines constantly at our fingertips, we spend very little time grappling with trivial questions or attempting to recall answers from memory. Any question that I have can be answered almost instantly, regardless of my location or the time of day.

My best friend and me!

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