PC Mag reports researchers have found that search engines like Google are affecting people's memory recall, as web users are less likely to work hard at remembering things if they know they can just look it up with a couple of mouseclicks.
In examining peoples' Internet habits and how it affects their memory recall, the researchers found that while the Web is not exactly making you dumb, per se, people are less likely to work hard at remembering certain things if they know they can just look it up on the Internet. Meanwhile, when asked difficult questions, Web users are now more likely to think about how they can look it up online rather than try to figure it out using existing knowledge.
"The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that 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," Professors Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu, and Daniel Wegner wrote in their report. "The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves."