Transitive Memory and the Internet

From Discover’s The extended mind – how Google affects our memories:

… three psychologists have shown how our memories might react to this omnipresent store of information. They have found that when American students expect to have access to information in the future, they remember that information less well. But there’s a positive flipside: they’re also better at remembering where to find the information again.

Betsy Sparrow from Columbia University compares transactive memory, comprised of families, teams or organizations, to our relationship with the Internet

… we are learning what the computer “knows” and when we should attend to where we have stored information in our computer-based memories. We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found.

See also xkcd’s Extended Mind. Via @bigdata.

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