Friday, July 15, 2011

Study: We remember fewer facts, more sources

Doesn't bode well for that next round of Trivial Pursuit.

Memory slips caught in the net. (Boston Globe, 7/15/2011)

Excerpt:  In the study published yesterday [link to abstract], researchers used a series of simple experiments to demonstrate how our minds have adapted to having search engines on our computers and smartphones. When research subjects believed that statements they typed on a computer were saved, they were more likely to forget the phrases than those who believed the material was deleted. When the participants typed a series of quirky and engaging facts - that an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain, for example - they tended to forget the facts and instead remembered the mundane names of the folders they had saved the facts in.

“Our memories are changing,’’ said Daniel Wegner, a psychology professor at Harvard and the senior author of the study. “So we remember fewer facts and we remember more sources, which website you saw it on or whose e-mail to look in to find that. . . . It’s like having information at our fingertips makes us always go to our fingertips

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