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Posts Tagged ‘Transactive Memory’

Don’t worry, you can Google this blog after you’ve read it

November 26th, 2019 No comments

Do you know the capital of Indonesia? Or who the 11th President of the United States was? Perhaps, instead, you could tell me what arachibutyrophobia is?

pretend edward cullen GIF

Don’t know something? Well…

No? Well, that’s okay. I mean, what’s the point of knowing stuff like geography or US history when you have all that information at the tips of your fingers? Maybe you won’t place first in your school’s trivia contest or apply to be on Jeopardy, but who cares, you can just Google it!

A long, long time ago, searching for information wasn’t so easy. People had to look through encyclopedias, dictionaries, and maps (ugh, can you imagine?) to figure out information that these days, we can find within seconds. Thanks to the previous work of dozens of brilliant scientists, the world was forever changed with Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web. What is fascinating is that in just the short amount of time that the Internet has been available, the human mind has already begun to develop and work in synergy with this technology. One of the most prevalent ways in which we see this is the Google effect. That’s right, an important cognitive bias was actually named after the world’s most popular search engine – and for good reason!

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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…

Do you trust Google more than yourself?

April 26th, 2018 2 comments

Are you using Google to answer all your questions?

Have you ever been asked a question that you do not know the answer to and you responded, “I don’t. I’ll just Google it”? If you said yes, like the overwhelming majority of people with internet access, your brain has already adjusted to work in synergy with technology. When you rely on the internet for information, it can negatively affect your memory, especially in exams or interviews, where technology isn’t available. An example of such negative influence can be seen in my own personal experience. I was preparing for an internship interview and I wrote on my application that I had background knowledge in the stock market. I panicked as I headed into the interview and tried to look up the company’s current stock and how their business was doing. In the interview itself, I word vomited and spewed out miscellaneous facts and numbers. After my display of panic, the interviewer asked me, “So…what does that mean for our company?” This demonstrates the reliance on Google (or the internet in general!), to gather information, but the inability to process, comprehend and retain the information. This lack of understanding and remembering is called the Google effect. In other words, we look up the information and find it on the internet, but when we try to recall the information, we can only remember the website or where it was located, but cannot remember the content or its significance.
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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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