Search Engines Change How Memory Works

Brandon Keim

Thanks to search engines, most simple facts don’t need to be remembered. They can be accessed with a few keystrokes, plucked from ubiquitous server-stored external memory — and that may be changing how our own memories are maintained.

A study of 46 college students found lower rates of recall on newly-learned facts when students thought those facts were saved on a computer for later recovery.

If you think a fact is conveniently available online, then, you may be less apt to learn it.

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