With technology penetrating every part of our lives, we have learned to search for information on the internet. But could this practice be altering the way we store and process information? A new study has revealed findings that could just go to show that Google could be destroying our memories.

Psychology professors from the Columbia University, the University Of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard University came together and published the study that said people “remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found”, essentially meaning that we tend to forget information searched for, and rather remember where on the internet it can be found. “The Internet, with its search engines such as Google and databases such as IMDB and the information stored there, has become an external memory source that we can access at any time,” said the study. “It has become so commonplace to look up the answer to any question the moment it occurs, it can feel like going through withdrawal when we can’t find out something immediately.”

The four tests that the professors conducted on individuals in short, confirmed that searching for information on the internet could be wiping out our “internal memory”, which stores data. “When people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it”, said the study.

So instead of remembering data, say what happened during an event, we tend to remember which sites we saw that information on, or where on Google we found the site.

According to the study “These results suggest that processes of human memory are adapting to the advent of new computing and communication technology. We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found.” “This gives us the advantage of access to a vast range of information—although the disadvantages of being constantly ‘wired’ are still being debated”, concluded the professors in the study.

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