Scientists at Columbia University in New York City have deduced that people are less likely to remember details but more likely to know where to find the answers they need.
Results have shown that Mac users, PC users and laptop users are beginning to see Google as a replacement for the the area of the brain which allows people to remember things.
The findings have been published in the latest issue of Science Magazine along with the tests carried out on the participants of the study who were asked to type relevant information into the computer.
Half were told that the computer would remember the data entered whilst half were told that their computer would not remember what was typed into them. The researchers concluded that the test participants “did not make the effort to remember when they thought they could later look up the trivia statements they had read“.
A second experiment concluded that people were better at retaining the information for folder names than the information stored in the folder names.
Scientists said of the findings: “The results … suggest ‘where’ was prioritised in memory, with the advantage going to ‘where’ when ‘what’ was forgotten.”
One of the scientists Betsy Sparrow said: “Just as we learn through transactive memory who knows what in our families and offices, we are learning what the computer ‘knows’ and when we should attend to where we have stored information in our computer-based memories. We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools.”