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.
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