15 Jul '11, 8am

Do we forget things because we know we can look it up on Google later?

CAMBRIDGE (Massachusetts) - Internet searches are making information easy to forget, as more people rely on their computers as a type of "external memory," a study of Harvard University students found. About 60 Harvard students were asked to type 40 pieces of trivia, such as "An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain," into computers, and were told either the information would be saved or erased. People who believed the data would be saved were less likely to remember it, according to the study published online by the journal Science. The widely available Internet has made it an instant go-to library where facts and figures are easily found, the researchers said. The study suggests that search engines such as Google, and databases such as Amazon.com's www.IMDb.com serve as an external "memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves," they said. "We are ...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Science/EDC110715-0000156/Usin...

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