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The way search engines like Google make it almost effortless to find the answers to any question with a few taps of the fingertips could be changing the way our memory works, according to a recent study. The report, co-authored by Betsy Sparrow, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Columbia University; Jenny Liu at the University of Wisconsin Madison; and Daniel Wegner at Harvard, suggests that the brain is much less likely to recall information when it knows it can find the information quickly online.
The premise is nothing new. Mankind has always based 'remembering' on economics.
Actually, I can't think of any decision which isn't based on real (or perceived) economics.
This quote attributed to Einstein sums it up well:
ONE OF Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. "You don't remember your own number?" the man asked, startled.
"No," Einstein answered. "Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?"
In fact, Einstein claimed never to memorize anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.
Suggesting that the Internet has influenced our thinking process is akin to postulating that moving from quill pens to ballpoint to word processing has changed our writing. The change(s) were only to the 'economics' of writing.