See Why People Forget Information They Can Easily Find Online

How Can We Define the Google Effect?

The Google effect, which is also known as digital amnesia, is the act of forgetting information that can be found online using the Google search engine.

According to research, people forget information they believe could be found online. The study also asserts that individuals’ ability to practice learning offline remains the same.

The 2011 research concluded with three major findings. First, people tend to think of computers whenever a general knowledge question is asked, even when they are sure of the correct answer.

In addition to that, the effect is usually realized if the question is a difficult one and the answer is unknown. People tend to forget information they believe will be available to look up later.

Last of all, if the information is saved somewhere, people will likely recall where it was stored more than the information itself.

This continues to persist even in cases where the information is more memorable than where it is stored. A study by Lav R. Varshney stated that the Google effect also exists in doctoral thesis, saying that a continuous increase in the number of references cited shows a tendency for improved knowledge of where to find relevant information, i.e., which magazine or newspaper carries the information rather than the information itself. 

How The Google Effect Works

Assuming you come across an unfamiliar word in the process of reading a book, you then decide to use Google to get its definition. After some time, you come across the word again, but you seem to have forgotten what it means. This scenario fully describes the Google effect, whereby because we have access to information we want online, we therefore refuse to commit it to our memory.

Google has because it is easy to google and get, we may end up frequently googling the same information online instead of committing it to our memory. 

How It Affects Individuals

Our engagement with the world is gradually becoming shallower as time passes due to our lack of commitment to the information we get online. The way in which we solve problems and recall whatever information we have is all impacted by the Google effect.

Although some believe that it is a sign of technological advancement, it has affected the research capability of individuals. It also suggests that technology has changed the way we think.

We find it difficult to store information in our memory but instead choose to use Google. Most educational institutions now rely on the internet to carry out research work.

Frequent use of Google makes us remember less of what we learn on a daily basis since we will always have to check on Google to remember the information, making us dependent entirely on the digital world.

However, research has shown that overdependence on the digital world has some negative effects, which include: loss of social skills, high levels of anxiety, and poor performance when it comes to cognitive skills.

The Google effect is a kind of transactional memory where in a work space we form group memory. Information is shared into individuals’ memories, and group members are only expected to recall their chunk of information.


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