Originally published October 8 2015
How does Google make you stupid?
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) The Internet is quickly becoming the brain and storage bank for the human race. Instead of trying to remember a fact or tidbit with their own brains, people quickly turn to Google for answers. People rely on Google so much that the search engine is measurably destroying their very own long-term memory capabilities. An international survey led by Russia's Kaspersky Labs has proven that Google-dependence is rotting people's brains and giving them false perceptions of intelligence.
The international survey, which quizzed 6000 respondents, found that 36 percent of people go to Google for information instead of trying to remember it on their own. It gets worse with age: 40 percent of adults over age 45 automatically rely on Google searches for so-called knowledge.
The search results favored by Google and indexed as top priority are slowly becoming all that people know. People no longer trust their own memories and their own ability to retain information. This "Google dependency" is dangerous because the human brain is slowly adapting to relying merely on external answers (that Google arranges for them). As people depend on Google to hold all the answers, the brain shrinks and the ability to learn dissolves because retaining information is no longer prioritized.
We forget the information as soon as we retrieve it, always expecting it to be thereThe most shocking result of the survey was that 25 percent of people immediately forget the information they look up, right after looking it up. A Google-dependent brain assumes that information will always be there, so the memory is quickly forgotten. Psychologists warn that this kind of behavior is destroying people's long-term memories, contributing to "digital amnesia."
People doubt the accuracy of their own memory and rely on quick Google searches for confirmation. People want the right answer as quickly as possible, leading to impatient thinking that depends on an external source. There's really no incentive to retain information if the brain believes it can always access the answers quickly and without much effort.
"The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world's knowledge at your fingertips," said lead researcher Matthew Fisher, of Yale University.
"It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source. When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet."
Google makes people think they are smarter than they really areGoogle dependency is also making people think they are smarter than they really are. Just because people can find information quickly on their smartphones does not mean they are intelligent at all. Experiments published by the American Psychological Association found that people who rely on the Internet for information perceive themselves as more intelligent than people who retain their own information. Even when they couldn't find what they were looking for online, they believed their knowledge was superior to those in the control group. The Google-dependent searchers even thought their brains were more active than controls — but they weren't. Their minds were dependently searching, not actively engaging past memory.
Dr. Maria Wimber of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology says, "Our brain appears to strengthen a memory each time we recall it and at the same time forget irrelevant memories that are distracting us. Past research has repeatedly demonstrated that actively recalling information is a very efficient way to create a permanent memory."
She concludes, "In contrast, passively repeating information (e.g. by repeatedly looking it up on the Internet) does not create a solid, lasting memory trace in the same way. Based on this research, it can be argued that the trend to look up information before even trying to recall it prevents the build-up of long-term memories."
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