Skip Nav
Geek Culture
49 Free Templates For the Coolest Jack-o'-Lantern on the Block
Geek Culture
35+ Pixar Costumes to Make Your Halloween Bright and Terrific
Geek Culture
Break the Internet With These 50+ Clever Costumes

Internet Use Causing Memory Loss

Does Google Cause Internet Brain Burnout?

Never one to win a round of Trivial Pursuit? A new study in Science magazine suggests you're not alone. Our culture is becoming increasingly reliant on Internet searches in lieu of old-fashioned memory.

The study led by Betsy Sparrow, an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University, examined how likely people are to remember facts if they are easily available online via a Google search. Researchers had a group of college students type trivia into a computer. Half were told the statements would be saved, and the other half were told they would be erased. Those told the text would be erased were able to better recall the statement than those who thought the information was saved. Researchers argue that unless told to remember something, like when studying for a test, we are less likely to recall facts for future use, letting search engines pick up the mind's storage slack instead.

Though his memory may still be in tact, former Twitter addict John Mayer said at a recent college appearance that he quit thinking in 140 characters, because the digital platform also affected how he thought. He said: "I stopped using Twitter as an outlet and I started using Twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn’t write a song."

Have you had a similar experience? Has Internet use changed the way you process information and remember facts?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Around The Web
Join The Conversation
tortolitas1 tortolitas1 5 years
Nah Google just reshapes the brain neuro-adaptively just like the invention of text/writing did. Its different neither better or worse. Unless we want to do the hard work to preserve the pre-google mind it will become the stuff of atavists.
thecolor thecolor 5 years
I agree with @spacekatgal ( I read a short on the same thing here: ); I also immediately googled the source over having it written down... but, we are becoming better at searching for content outside our brain and offloading heavy items to the cloud to avoid mucking it up ;) So, in a sense, we are utilizing the cloud for our own content just as a personal computer does. Photos, conversations, memories (archives), media (records, tapes, cds, vhs, dvd, etc.) Most of the time when I ask someone for something (question, or otherwise), it's not so much that I can't easily find it myself, it's now a "social thing" a simple desire to communicate with someone over looking it up; I want to start a conversation. Otherwise the office might never have it (a drone place of silence) if we always relied on the 'cloud'.
How to Find Out If You're Registered to Vote
Google Doc Tips
What Is Google Home?
Google Pixel and Pixel XL Details
What Is Google Sheep View?
How to Find Out What Google Knows About You
How to Disable Google Tracking

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Technology & Gadgets
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds