Is the internet making us more forgetful?

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Most Americans have become dependent on the internet and smart devices to remember things, according to new research commissioned by Kaspersky Lab.

In fact, 91.2 per cent of those polled said they used the internet as an online extension of their brain, while 44 per cent stated that they enter everything they need to remember into their smartphone. Moreover, 50 per cent of those polled said they would turn to the internet first before attempting to recall something from their mind.

Kaspersky claims that this overreliance on the internet and smart devices in recalling important data has led to “digital amnesia”, a phenomenon wherein people allow themselves to forget information that can easily be looked up on their devices or the internet.

In fact, 28.9 per cent of respondents said they would intentionally forget something they’d read online after using it because they believe they can simply look it up again the next time they need it.

“The overall trend seems worrying to some degree,” said Maria Wimber, Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology.

“In contrast to general knowledge that will always be retrievable from the Internet, personal information seems indeed very vulnerable if it is stored solely on one electronic device, and if this device is used as a replacement for our autobiographical memory,” she explained.

Furthermore, many people forget the fact that their externally stored memories can be stolen by hackers or corrupted by viruses, added the Russian cyber security firm.

Kaspersky’s study was conducted by research company Opinion Matters, who polled 1,000 American consumers between the ages of 16 and 55.


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