Internet's memory effects quantified in computer study
Computers and the internet are changing the nature of our memory, research in the journal Science suggests.
Psychology experiments showed that people presented with difficult questions began to think of computers.
When participants knew that facts would be available on a computer later, they had poor recall of answers but enhanced recall of where they were stored.
The researchers say the internet acts as a "transactive memory" that we depend upon to remember for us.
[One] experiment provided a stream of facts to participants, with half told to file them away in a number of "folders" on a computer, and half told that the facts would be erased.
When asked to remember the facts, those who knew the information would not be available later performed significantly better than those who filed the information away.
But those who expected the information would be available were remarkably good at remembering in which folder they had stored the information.