The Internet Stole My Brain

24 Jan

      Humans are the most adaptable species in all the world. If you want to change an adaptable species just change their environment. As soon as the internet was taken from a military application(automatically their is a large chance of it being a weapon or at very least they understood the changes that would happen to the people that use it) it began to change the environment of those who used it and therefore beginning the process of adaptation. The result is the functions that were once done on our own. As the article states this has to do with memory functions. I am sure if you think about it the internet has replaced other functions as well, social networking, shopping, and job searching to name a few. We must always be wary of new tools that are introduced to us, they will always have repercussions (cell phones – do people remember phone numbers anymore?). If we aren’t careful there will come a point where we will be so dependent on tools outside our own faculties we will be as infants if we are cut off from certain technology or tools. Our Internet provider and computer holds our lives in their hands.

Are our brains being boggled by Google? Study says humans now use the internet as our main ‘memory’ – instead of our heads

  • People remember where to look up information – not the info itself
  • People actively forget information if they think they can look it up later
  • Tests on how people remembered items they would normally Google

By Rob Waugh

Last updated at 6:08 PM on 24th January 2012

The Internet is becoming our main source of memory instead of our own brains, a study has concluded.
In the age of Google, our minds are adapting so that we are experts at knowing where to find information even though we don’t recall what it is.
The researchers found that when we want to know something we use the Internet as an ‘external memory’ just as computers use an external hard drive.
Nowadays we are so reliant on our smart phones and laptops that we go into ‘withdrawal when we can’t find out something immediately’.
And such is our dependence that having our Internet connection severed is growing ‘more and more like losing a friend’.
Researchers from Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University in the U.S. carried out four tests to check their theory.
They involved giving test participants a trivia quiz and then seeing whether they recognised computer-related words more quickly than other words.
The other tests involved seeing if people remembered 40 pieces information they would typically later have normally looked up.
The third and fourth parts of the study involved checking how well people remember where to look up information on-line and whether or not they remembered the location more than the actual data.

The results showed that when people don’t believe they will need information for a later test, they do not recall it at the same rate as when they do believe they will need it.
In fact, some of those in the study ‘actively did not make the effort to remember when they thought they could later look up the trivia statements they had read’, the paper says.

The other results showed that when continuous Internet access is expected, people are better at remembering where they can find it than the details.
The study was lead by Betsy Sparrow, an assistant professor at the department of psychology at Columbia University.
In their paper, the researchers say that we now have access to the Internet 24 hours a day meaning we are ‘seldom offline unless by choice’ and it is ‘hard to remember how we found information before the Internet became a ubiquitous presence in our lives’.
The paper reads: ‘The advent of the Internet, with sophisticated algorithmic search engines, has made accessing information as easy as lifting a finger. 
‘No longer do we have to make costly efforts to find the things we want. We can ‘Google’ the old classmate, find articles online, or look up the actor who was on the tip of our tongue. 
‘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. 
‘The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves.’
The study is not the first to touch on such anxieties and similar fears were addressed in ‘The Shallows: How the Internet is rewiring our brains’, a book released last year.
Its author, American technologist Nicholas Carr, talks of how we are unable to concentrate for long periods because of how using the web has affected us.
In research he commissioned for the book, test subjects said they were unable to read copies of Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ because their minds had been altered.
Others were disturbed at how they could only think in ‘staccato’ bursts because they had become little more than ‘decoders of information’.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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