IS TECHNOLOGY REALLY AFFECTING OUR MEMORY?

By GENIUS MOYO

Studies on sat-nav use have found that while they helped motorists on their journey, they affected memory. The drivers remembered less about what they have seen along the way – and struggled to retrace the route when asked to drive it again without the aid of the sat-nav.

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Another study found that museum-goers given digital cameras remembered objects they had photographed less well than other exhibits. Other research suggests that the vast amounts of information available on Google may fool us into thinking we are smarter than we actually are.

Evan Risko, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Waterloo, warned: ‘If you are allowed to store some to-be-remembered information on a computer, chances are you won’t devote cognitive real estate to remembering it.

As a result, your ability to remember that information without the computer will likely be reduced. There’s little doubt that these new technologies are affecting what we remember. In a paper co-authored by University College London neuroscientist Sam Gilbert, Dr Risko reviewed studies into cognitive offloading – or using the outside world to save on brainpower. These include studies on sat-nav use, which have found that while they helped motorists on their journey, they affected. The drivers remembered less about what they have seen along the way – and struggled to retrace the route when asked to drive it again without the aid of the sat-nav. It has been observed that museum-goers given digital cameras remembered objects they had photographed less well than other exhibits.

Other research suggests that the vast amounts of information available on Google may fool us into thinking we are smarter than we actually are. One study found that people who searched for information on the internet had an over-inflated sense of their own intelligence afterwards. Asked questions on completely unrelated topics, they maintained they knew more than others.

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