Posted by: crudbasher | July 21, 2011

Google Is Changing Our Brains

I used to have a good memory before I got married. I have been happily married for almost 5 years now but I have noticed something about how I remember things.

Before I got married, and for the first year afterwards, my wife would tell me details of things we are planning on doing (dinner with mother in law, baby shower for someone, etc…) and I would remember it. These days, I typically don’t. I am sure many wives reading this blog will agree that their husbands don’t remember details like that. Well I can tell you why we don’t.

We don’t remember the details because you are. In other words, husbands quickly realize that they don’t have to remember these things because our wives will remind us when it is time. Some wives would call this lazy. I call it being efficient. 🙂

I have written previously about a concept called the Extended Mind. It is a theory about how the brain works that says it can problem solve without having all the facts and pieces physically stored in the brain. It can use “external” storage.

This story below talks about a study where they trying to quantify how our brains are literally changing to take into account the vast amount of external storage we now have access to.

As teachers, we cannot ignore this change. Schools have to adapt or they will be replaced.

  • shades of extended mind

    tags: technology learning google extended mind

    • A Columbia University study has found that Google and other search engines are literally changing the way our brains process and retain information.
    • The research was conducted by Columbia psychologist Betsy Sparrow and presented in a paper Science magazine published entitled “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.”
    • In that paper, Sparrow makes the case that rather than remembering things, we now simply retain the knowledge of how to find the information we need when we need it. In other words, the Internet as a whole has become what a major example of what psychologists refer to as “transactive memory.”
    • The implications of this research are still being explored. But it could have vast application to teaching and training fields.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. Dear Sir,
    I am pleased to learn that someone has finally hit the nail on the head.Whha

  2. I need more reflections on what a person actually needs to know in todays highly computerised world. I used to be extremely challenged in maths but now I am studying maths on google and my progress is good.

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