Internet Changes How We Remember

Internet Changes How We Remember
In one of Sparrow’s experiments she presented two groups of undergraduates with trivia statements. Individuals in one group, who were told they could retrieve the information later on their computer, had worse recall than subjects in the other group, who knew in advance they could not do so. Together with the rest of her results, this finding suggests that Internet users have learned to remember how to find a fact rather than the fact itself.

[Note: This is at, which you may or may not have full access to. The results are interesting enough to point at a paywalled site though.]


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Changing how we remember

This has not been a change for me. I have short-term memory and have always been able to find the information I need much easier then memorizing it. I still want to improve my memory skills but am very thankful for the Internet as a storage tool. I feel that if my students can learn how to gather information they will develop better critical thinking skills and will always have hope of solving their problems. If they have to depend on memory they tend to give up sooner.

How we remember

Sounds like a reference librarian. I remember where to look for things not the things themselves. That is why I don't do well at trivia.

That's What I Thought Too

"this finding suggests that Internet users have learned to remember how to find a fact rather than the fact itself."
That's exactly how my brain works. I have a good memory for things I saw or read or heard, but it's more of a vague memory, I can remember where I heard it or where I read it, and then can find it again through that channel. Externalization of memory or something.


Rather than remembering content, your brain indexes it. That will help you avoid storage problems.

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