Your Brain On Google... Human Memory Adapts To Technology

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Tech Talk' started by Joe Riley, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    By Kari Lipschutz
    Google is becoming your brain’s external hard drive. A new study shows that the regular use of search engines and online reference materials is affecting the way users remember and gather information.
    The research, led by Betsy Sparrow at Columbia University, tested subjects in a series of four tests aimed at assessing how people recall pieces of trivia. The first round of experiments found that subjects were less likely to remember something if they thought they would be able to easily retrieve it from a computer later. Another experiment showed that users were able to easily remember which folder of five on a computer contained the information they were asked to retrieve.
    [​IMG]
    The phenomenon is called transactive memory and has existed long before the Internet was a source of information. The concept explains that humans do not only rely on their own brains to store information rather they use other sources, such as people they know or in this case the Internet, but also to hold information that they will need to access later. Sparrow’s study concludes that today the Internet has become a primary place for storing information externally. "Human memory," Sparrow told The New York Times, "is adapting to new communications technology."
    http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/your-brain-google-133440
     
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  2. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    Interesting reading but, as soon as Google began to turn into Jack of all trades and master of none, I began to refrain keep worshiping Google as most people do to date.

    In addition, I had to be offline (and of everything) several years ago when I was left without electricity for seven months; this issue helped me to be aware on how not just Google but the whole Internet was affecting the way I perceived common activities such as reading online news, rather than a paper magazine or newspaper, using online reference instead of that book in the shelf called "dictionary," listen to the radio by turning on a power-battery forgotten device next to my bed, and so on.

    Agree that we have to adapt to new communications technology, but not forgetting the old one we were taught or learned is always a plus to do whatever we do today with the aid of a computer or an electronic device.
     
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  3. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    I too love the Internet and can understand how the brain is adapting to the way we remember things. I would not want to go back to the days before it existed, but I agree that there is a danger to forgetting about the old ways.

    There is now a generation of people who don't know how to use a map or road atlas because they rely on satellite navigation. I also agree that we should always know how to use a dictionary or a reference book rather than Googling every time we want to know something.

    When areas are cut off for days by storms that cause power outages, listening to a radio that runs on batteries or wind-up is the only way people can know of rescue attempts and whether aid will arrive.
     
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  4. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  5. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    I get this impression that the study tends to show that people are getting dependent on Google search. Some people don't bother to study or memorize word meanings since they know that Google will give it to them, all they need is the internet and the browser. This reminds me of a science fiction story told by my husband where criminals are punished by erasing their knowledge of technology. And since society moves with the use of the internet, how can one transact when everything is done online and the punished criminal is ignorant of the technology.

    I'm sure the students now are of the advantage with Google since information is on the tip of their fingers, so to speak.
     
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    That was true with calculators too. It seemed less important to learn how to do math.
     
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  7. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I do tend to look up a lot of things that I used to actually have in my own memory, but have forgotten. Having that ability is a blessing during my times of fibrofog, but it also irritates me that I can't remember things on my own when I'm in that state. I'm thankful that I can still calculate in my head, unlike many of the youngsters of today. I think it's still important to learn to do these things, because as @Ruth Belena mentioned, there are issues such as storms, that can take away our access to technology, and it's important to be able to function during those times. Even without the issue of losing power, I prefer to maintain my independence as much as possible, and not become too dependent on technology.
     
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  8. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    We've lived in the rural country in late 1999. We've had our Internet connected VPN in 2008. The Internet wasn't, back then, the vital part of our lives before I and all my children ever knew how to use our old computer. We pretty much did our "stuff" conventionally. Wrote a lot of letters, printed our own family newsletters, read country newspapers. At work, my husband printed interesting materials off the Internet of our favorite people at the time and brought the prints home. We were more excited to read the printed materials upon his homecoming.

    Now, I have 2 gadgets--Tablet in 2013, and Smart phone in January 2014. I have dictionary and Thesaurus apps, bookmarked news sites (several), blogs, emails etc. Everything is easy to access now ever since I learned to use technology. Even use Bible Apps (teehee!). I try to read news and write early in the mornings at my computer, while everyone is still asleep. School hours are pretty much modem-off until 5 pm, unless we need to consult Dr. Google on Math problems which I don't know how to teach to my Gr. 6 home-pupil. We don't feel we miss out, though.

    Saturdays are Internet-and-technology-free for me and my two children. We exercise our brains and body on these "rest" days.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
  9. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    People put all of their information in their cell phones now. When you ask for a friends phone number usually you will be told let me get my phone. Remember when you knew all your friends numbers by heart, you did not need to find your phone book even to repeat those numbers. The use of the internet and devices have reduced the need to learn some things that we should still be learning so that we are not so dependent on the computer or cell phone. What if they were not available for days or weeks at one time then what would we do?
     
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  10. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Times have been changing for many years at one time when the TV quit you open the back took out the tubes and went to the local TV dealer to have them checked out. When your car acted up you open the hood on your car checked and filed the points. Now they have made everything so complicated you need a technician or though it in the garbage and buy another because there is no parts for that modal any more. It would take losing a few people who knows how to make the basics like Steal, copper, plastic. ect to have this system fall apart. It happen in the Egyptian and Inca when they lost the people with the basic knowledge the whole system stopped working. This is why a lot of people are searching for a way to be self sufficient but they forget they need to be able to fix or repair all there things. For example solar panels for electricity but if they fail you can not make another.
     
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  11. Jenn Windey

    Jenn Windey Active Member
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    I draw the line at some technology. I do not want a smart phone or a smart watch. I had a guy in the office at work the other day showing off his smart watch and the only thing that he kept repeating was that he could buy all of these watch face apps. I don't even wear a watch because I refuse to become a slave to the clock. Much less would I want to keep paying for apps.

    We went out for dinner the other night and we got one of those dinner buzzers that alert you when your table is ready. The downside is it only goes as far as the parking lot. Our dinner companion had a brilliant solution, he said why not set the buzzer in the car and he would turn on the tablet to watch it. He could watch the tablet from his phone and we could go to the mall. It seemed like so much effort to me. I do think that eventually there will be no more line buzzers, it will be an app they set on some sort of phone.

    You can still use the internet for real learning, stuff you will commit to memory. It is all about finding good sources. They are out there and I will tell you the amount of information is amazing. I will always appreciate a good book, but love that I can search a quote to know exactly where in the book a portion resides. I also love that when a song gets stuck in my head I can find out what the heck it was.
     
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  12. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    Google's goal is getting people being dependent not jut on their search engine, but on their information, services, and everything else you can think of.

    Google wants you brainwashed and totally blind to worship it as the almighty master of the universe, and consuming whatever they want you to consume, and you don't necessarily have to pay for something, because each of us are key pieces in their world domination plan.

    As simple as that ;)
     
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  13. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    Yikes Carlota!! Ya got me dead to rights. I am from the planet Googalian and I have already dominated the world. (except in parts of China and N. Korea where youtube has based their tendrils of absorption)
    Prepare to be assimilated!!
    There are only a few ways to find this forum and yup, Google is one of them. Sorry Carlota, we know...........everything. Again with an exception of the planetary location of Michael Jackson, Elvis and Liberace, but Bamarama our leader, is looking into it.

    Seriously now, I have absolutely nothing against the concept of Google but rather against some who use it so mischievously in daily conversation and debate. In nearly every forum I have perused there are those who actually just write in their query and bang, they have absolute empirical proof that such and such is such and such.
    Google is nothing more than the page finder for whatever research we wish to perform but it also finds ALL of the pages and we have to read very carefully through them lest we find ourselves believing objective opinion whist the truth is on another page.
    Google is a fantastic tool but like all of the tools I have in my shop, I keep the guards oiled and working perfectly lest I find myself lacking something more important. In the case of Googled portions of the internet, my own pride and integrity. I'm like Santa Claus, I check everything twice, thrice, and sometimes uh.....4.

    Now, as an afterthought,
    True to Joe's research we do have access to a very powerful "external hard drive" and we actually need it. From a study I have been doing, our brain's posterior prietal cortex is getting smaller and the connection between the right and left hemispheres (corpus callosum) is getting narrower hence making information from the right to the left more difficult to retrieve. The left rocks all day and the right kind of waits until we "rest" then it can put in it's two cents worth.
    This isn't a new thing as in "since the arrival of Google" but over the last 150 years. It is indeed interesting to find that the more technologically advanced we become the less we need the actual long term memory space our brain provides. Which is funny because each cell of DNA can hold up to 4 or 5 gigs of information not to mention that about 80% of our brain is still under research and 90% barely used.
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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