Did you know the Google effect is the tendency to forget information that can be easily found using internet search engines such as Google, instead of remembering it.
The Google effect is the tendency to forget information that can be easily found using internet search engines such as Google, instead of remembering it. The phenomenon was described and named by Betsy Sparrow (Columbia), Jenny Liu (Wisconsin) and Daniel M. Wegner (Harvard) in July 2011. Having easy access to the Internet, the study showed, makes people less likely to remember certain details they believe will be accessible online. People can still remember, because they will remember what they cannot find online. They also remember how to find what they need on the Internet. Sparrow said this made the Internet a type of transactive memory. One result of this phenomenon is dependence on the Internet; if an online connection is lost, the researchers said, it is similar to losing a friend.
The study included four experiments conducted with students at Columbia and Harvard. In part one, subjects had to answer trivia questions, followed by naming the colors of words, some of which related to searching on the Internet. In part two, the subjects read statements related to the trivia questions and had to remember what they read. They had an easier time with those statements they believed they could find online. In phase three, the subjects had to remember the details of the statements based on whether they believed the information could be found somewhere, whether it could be found in a specific place, or whether it could not be found. They remembered the information they believed to be deleted most easily. In the final phase, the subjects believed the statements would be stored in folders. They had an easier time remembering the folder names than the statements. One conclusion: people can remember information if they do not know where to find it, and they can remember how to find what they need if they cannot remember the information.