If you can Google it, why bother remembering? Being able to access facts with just a few keystroke definitely improved our lives, but it has actually changed the way our memories work.
A study of 46 college students found lower rates of recall on newly-learned facts when students thought those facts were saved on a computer for later recovery.
If you think a fact is conveniently available online, then, you may be less apt to learn it.
As ominous as that sounds, however, study co-author and Columbia University psychologist Elizabeth Sparrow said it’s just another form of so-called transactive memory, exhibited by people working in groups in which facts and expertise are distributed.
“It’s very similar to how we use people in our lives,” said Sparrow. “The internet is really just an interface with a lot of other people.”
Like Einstein said, never memorize what you can look up: Link