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Is Google Making Us Dumber or Just Plain Lazy?


“How many countries have only one color on their flag?”

Years ago this question would have generated a numerical response from most of the people who were asked. However, with the increasing use of search engines for factual information, people today are more likely to respond not with the answer, but where they would look on the Internet to find the answer.

A new study by Columbia University recognizes a new kind of amnesia called The Google Effect which has impacted the way humans recall information. When asked a factual question such as the one above, more often than not, people refer to an Internet location instead of answering the question from memory.

The authors of the study argue that this heavy reliance on search engines does not prove people are stupid, but it points out that people are processing information and thinking in a completely different way than they used to doing. Thus, when thinking about factual details, people are relying more on the Internet for those facts rather than putting them into the memory banks in their own minds.

– Source: NBC-TV, Bay Area, 07/17/11.

Photo by Robert Scoble.