We're all living in the age of Google. When we Google one thing and Wikipedia another, we're not relying on our brains but on our fingertips. Is it making us dumber?
First you have to consider there are two main types of memory, non declarative memory for skills, emotions and movement; like how to ride a bike. And then there is declarative memory, for facts and information, like your phone number or the capital of Australia.
So when we use technology to look up information, we're extending our declarative memories. But is that at the expense of what's in our brain?
The hippocampus is a major part of the brain we use in declarative memory function. It gives us the ability to retain and recall memories about facts, like the largest animal on earth, and events, like your first kiss or the first CD you bought.
The formation of new declarative memories relies on both the hippocampus and a region around it, the parahippocampal gyrus. So what happens when we have information at our fingertips and we don't need to remember facts anymore?
Well the process in our brain of how we form, retain and recall memories remains the same. What changes is what we choose to form memories about. Instead of remembering more facts, we remember where to find them – this is called The Google Effect.
Video created by BrainCraft
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