‘Internet search engines cause poor memory’

Give a second thought the next time you go to Google to get some information, for a new study says that Internet search engines are making people lose their memory.

Researchers at Columbia University have found that increasing number of users relied on their computers as a form of “external memory” as frequent use of online information libraries “wired” human brains.

The study, examining the so-called “Google effect”, found people had poor recall of knowledge if they knew where answers to questions were easily found, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

The researchers found that people were increasingly bypassing discussions with friends to use the Internet as their main source of information.

Prof. Betsy Sparrow, who led the study, said such web tools were making information easy to forget and that if people could not find answers immediately it could feel like “going through withdrawal”.

“We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems,” said Prof. Sparrow, from Columbia’s psychology department.

“We have become dependent on them to the same degree we are on all the knowledge we gain from our friends and coworkers — and lose if they are out of touch. Human memory is adapting to new communications technology… Read More [via thehindu]