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Search engines are not good for your memory

by Tug Agency | 15.07.2011
Search engines like Google have become something similar to a “external memory” for the brain, according to a study published in “Science” and reported by Efe, which shows that frequent users of search engines have lost some of their memory retention abilities.

The author, psychologist Betsy Sparrow from the University of Columbia based the experiment on her own experience since she realized that the only way for her to remember celebrities’ names was to check online. Her team interviewed more than 100 students from Harvard to examine the relationship between memory and the Internet.

Her team found out that when participants did not know the answers to the questions, they would automatically try to look for the answer online. They also discovered that they would remember more often the answer to questions if they knew the answer couldn’t be found online.

Another pattern is that people do not necessarily remember how they got the information if they remember what it was, but if they can’t remember what it was they tend to remember where they found the data.

The study suggests that most people uses the Internet as their “personal data bank”, which is known as the “Google effect.”