No, we’re not talking about Dave the know it all – although he might not be good for your health either. The real issue is your brain power and the internet, or rather our continued reliance on offloading most of our brain work onto it.
This isn’t the first time I have worried about this, I am still convinced Googles ultimate lock-in to their services is your brain power. However, new research from the University of California suggests our reliance on the internet and Google is doing more harm than we thought. Our ever-increasing reliance on the internet impacting our ability to problem solve, errr….. recall information, and learn.
The findings seem to suggest that once people begin to rely on the internet to accomplish some task, they become more likely to continue to do so in the future. – Benjamin Storm
The researchers attempted to find out the effects of Google’s mass of info by posing difficult questions to their subjects. Dependent on the group type they were allowed to use Google or had to rely simply on their own brain. A follow up set of much easier questions were then posed without any restriction on internet use.
The participants that previously used Google became much more likely to use Google on the second set of easier questions. A reliance on using Google was present despite the fact the second set of questions could more than likely be answered from memory.
Not only were subjects more likely to use an internet search, but they also made the decision much quicker than those that relied on their brain in the first instance. They all displayed a reduction in ‘Need For Cognition’ – a measure of their likely hood to challenge your brain power.
The lead researcher Benjamin Storm spoke to Digital Trends about the research and painted a picture of humans increasing dependence on cognitive off loading. Placing more and more reliance on storage of our information or learning onto our connected devices.
Benjamin left with this closing statement “does our capacity for wisdom and creative insight depend on the accumulation of internal knowledge?” – a question that will need more research. However it might be time to at least try and remember things!