Google Is Making Us Stupid and Smart at the Same Time?

People have been saying that computers are making us dumber basically since computers existed. Then the Internet came, eventually bringing Google into existence, and any hope for the future of intelligent life spiraled off into cyberspace. A seminal 2008 cover story by Nicholas Carr in The Atlantic put the question on the stand: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" The article served more as a jumping off point for future research and over the course of the next few years, scientists and journalists alike tried to provide an answer with a number of experiments and studies. (Carr kept going too, expanding the six-page piece into a 276-page book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.")

A just-published study in Science offers the latest set of findings, and a quick read suggests that yes, Google is hampering our ability to recall information. Led by Betsy Sparrow at Columbia University, the study also found that Google improves certain kinds of memory, like methods for retrieving information. Sparrow's findings aren't the whole story, though. As scientists have stressed since the dawn of web, the effects of Internet usage on cognition are pretty complicated.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Technology

Just In