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‘Internet is deceiving us, it makes us smarter than we are’: Report

Are you confident that you’re smarter than those around you? No judgment here. However, a new study claims that the internet is making us think we are smarter than we actually are. Despite this, the internet is designed to be a library of all human knowledge accessible to all, contributing little by little to our individual intellectual abilities. Adrian Ward, a marketing professor at the University of Texas at Austin, wanted to know how the internet and human memory intersect. With all information readily available through Google, our memory no longer needs to retain every piece of information.

Ward published a study in August which explored the possibility that people who heavily rely on Google for information may get the right answers, but may also misjudge how good their memory is. As technology advances, especially when it comes to digital devices, Ward believes memory is reshaped. Ward believes that the boundaries between the mind and the internet could become even more blurred – while calling it ‘Intermind’.

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Using short quizzes on general knowledge, Ward conducted a series of eight experiments to measure people’s self-delusions about their memory. Many of the participants had Google access, but some did not. In the study, Ward found that individuals with access to Google believed they would remember this information without relying on the internet in future quizzes. An earlier study from 2011 referred to this phenomenon as the ‘Google effect,’ which states that people are less likely to remember and retain information if it is readily available online.


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