Computer and the Internet Change the Nature of Human Memory

Computers and the Internet change the nature of human memory, concluded a study published in Science magazine. Psychological research shows that if someone asked tough questions, they will think of computers.

When they learned that the facts will be obtained through the computer then their memory becomes not so good because they know may rely on other sources. The researchers said the Internet acting as a "transactive memory".

Writer Betsy Sparrow from Columbia University said, transactive memory is the idea of ​​off-site sources of memory storage on the other. "There are experts in certain things and we let them responsible for that information," he said as quoted by the BBC website on Sunday (17 / 7).

Another writer, Daniel Wegner, who first proposed the concept of transactive memory in a chapter of a book entitled Cognitive Dependence on Close Relationships-find a partner who had long lived together will help each other when remembering something.

"I think the Internet became a form of transactive memory and I want to test it," said Sparrow.

The first part of the assessment is to examine whether the study participants 'right' thinking about computers and the internet is so posed difficult questions. The team used a modified Stroop test.

Standard Stroop test measures how long it took participants to read a color word while the word is a different color, for example the word "green" written in blue. Reaction time is increased when, instead of color-word participants were asked to read words on topics that may already have in mind.

In this way the research team showed that after a given topic with a yes / no, time of reaction to the term associated with the Internet will be longer. It is a gesture of participants did not know the answer, and they already consider to answer using a computer.

In the experiment more in-depth the study participants are given a set of facts. Half were asked to store them on a number of folders on the computer, half were told that the facts will be deleted.

When asked to recall this fact, a group that knows the information will not be obtained again showed better performance than the group who keep the facts in the file on the computer. But the group expects that information will be obtained later, his memory is very good at remembering the folder where to store information.

"This implies that in relation to the various things that we can get on the internet, we tend to put memories online. We tend to store it outside," said Sparrow.

According to Sparrow, the tendency of participants to remember the location of information-rather than the information itself, a sign people are increasingly unable to remember anything. They only manage the placement of large amounts of information easily available so that later.

"I do not think Google makes us stupid. We just changed the way remember. If we can get it on the internet despite being a walk, then the necessary skills ... The thing to remember is where to get information. Skills required is to remember who that need to be met (to know certain things), "he concluded.