Alex Goldman is a producer for On the Media. One time he got run over by a car.
Google Memory Study Causes Panic Among Bloggers
Friday, July 22, 2011 - 10:00 AM
Last week, a team of scientists at Columbia University published a study that said thanks to our instant access to nearly unlimited information via the internet, the way that we remember is changing. And almost immediately, the blogosphere lost its mind (pun intended), posting articles with titles like "Is Google Ruining Your Memory?," "Poor Memory? Blame Google," and the Pièce de résistance,"Google Turning us Into Forgetful Morons." But is the story really that cut and dry?
The study, rather than portraying a bleak dystopian future where it will be nigh on impossible to remember your own phone number, explains that we are replacing our ability to remember minutiae with an ability to recall where and how to access the information we need. The Mind Hacks Blog marvels at all the "pant-wetting" that has been done over the study, and explains that the study just shows that unlimited access to information utilizes a different type of memory than we normally use:
Memory management in general is known as metamemory and the storage of pointers to other information sources (usually people) rather than the content itself, is known as transactive memory.
Think of working in a team where the knowledge is shared across members. Effectively, transactive memory is a form of social memory where each individual is adjusting how much they need to personally remember based on knowledge of other people’s expertise.
This does not, says the Mind Hacks blog, indicate an erosion or damaging of our memories. So everyone can dial back the pant-wetting. You can read more at the Mind Hacks blog, which itself points to an article on Discovery's Not Exactly Rocket Science blog.
(via Mind Hacks, Not Exactly Rocket Science)