Is the Internet Warping Our Brains? Is the Internet Warping Our Brains?

Is the Internet Warping Our Brains?

by Cord Jefferson

July 20, 2011


This is your brain on Google.

New research from Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow suggests that Google, your favorite search engine turned email host turned social network, might actually be making you less likely to absorb information. Sparrow's study, "Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips," found that people who were confident they could use the internet to access some bit of information in the future were less likely to recall that information themselves. However, they were more likely to recall how to go about accessing the information if necessary. Sparrow calls it "outsourcing data," letting the internet take care of some stuff so we can save our brains for things that can't be Googled, like parents' birthdays and coworkers' names. 

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Is the Internet Warping Our Brains?