Psych in Sum: The Google Effect

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Do you ever wonder what the internet is doing to our brains? You’re not alone!

In 2011, Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu and Dan Wegner published an article about the “Google effect,” a phenomena where people neglect to commit information to memory when they know they can easily find it later. Across 4 studies, Sparrow et al found that participants were more likely to remember where they could find information (i.e. the file location on a computer), than the information itself (2011). So the next time you find yourself looking up the address to your favorite bar to tell your Uber driver for the umpteenth time, commit it to memory and best the Google effect!

Sparrow, B., Liu, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2011). Google effects on memory: Cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips. Science, 333(6043), 776-778.

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