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.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

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

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In