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Are search engines reducing our capability to memorize?

1. Now-days no one is trying to memorize information in his memory. For small information also people are seeking help from search engines. He will read it, use it and most probably forget it.
2. If he/she seeks the same information after some days, again he will try to get it from search engines.

What is opinion of you all?

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    Nov 11 2011: in ancient greece, some people warned that writing will degrade the people's mental capacities, since they don't have to memorize the stories. some felt that is the beginning of the decline of civilization.
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    Nov 17 2011: There was a time when we learned stories through storytellers and minstrels. If we were going to remember them at all, it would have to internally - not in a book or a search engine. And most of us would not even be able to read even if we had access to the printed word in any form.

    But not everyone who heard the stories or the songs remembered them. It takes effort to remember anything (unless one has eidetic, or "photographic" memory.)

    One of the reasons poetry and "minstrelling" was so popular was that rhyme and music make it easier to remember long passages of information.

    Even now, young (or new) Muslims chant (almost sing) the Quran out loud in order to memorize it in its entirety to earn the exalted title of "hafiz." It takes them two to three years to memorize the whole book.

    So it is not really search engines, or books, that are reducing our CAPACITY to memorize; it is that we simply do not make the effort to memorize (unless, for example, we are aspiring for the title hafiz; or to play the part of Hamlet in a local play.)

    Writing, even in a forum like this, forces us to use our memory (if you hadn't asked the question, I would not have had to remember what someone who has memorized the Quran is called.)

    Personally, I use search engines to access what I "already know" and want to confirm, and to confirm how words and names are spelled. I also use them for research.

    Memory is a skill that can be learned just like playing the piano. One does not learn to play the piano "by accident."
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    Nov 17 2011: The way people think has evolved together with technology. As Kriztian pointed out, there were the same issues when writing was introduced. And it's similar to how "people don't read anymore all they do is watch TV". There's actually a lot of extensive work done by Greg Ulmer about how the way we communicate has evolved throughout the ages, and he essentially addresses everything that is lost but also everything that is gained from this new technology. His book is called "Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy"
    He can be very convoluted in the way he expresses himself, probably because he's coming up with so many new words, but he does make some very interesting points!
    Essentially he thinks we have moved from orality to literacy, and now we're in a new stage called electracy, and it is the way we think through the internet.
  • Nov 14 2011: To answer your question; "Who cares?". I don't say that to be mean spirited, but is it that important? Education is the Key to Knowledge, not memory. The learning of how to Find and Use Knowledge, not just remembering facts is truly what is important. Obviously a person with a photographic memory has a huge advantage over a person who doesn't have one. A Search Engines open up the accessibility to Knowledge by an untold amount and it is getting larger all the time....the availability of Knowledge. A search engine tends to give everyone who knows how to use it an tremendous advantage. It certain beats rummaging through the stacks at my old college library.
  • Nov 13 2011: Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow published her paper, “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.”, that states that people do remember less when they know they can find it again on the web. But they do remember where they can find the information again. So I understand it as we aren't loosing our ability to remember information but developing strategies to make sure we don't forget information and lose it forever by storing the location in out mind and bookmarking its significance.
  • Nov 13 2011: Hi, I do agree with you that no one really can remember all the things which he/she learned in the past. It is going to be there. But the purpose of raising this thread is that we should not be totally dependent of various search engines for small-small information. We should not loose the habit of memorizing things otherwise it is going to be big issue. Take simple example of mobile phone. We never bother of remembering numbers stored in the mobile phone and what happens if we loose that mobile handset? We totally get lost and become handicapped in many cases. So the purpose of raising this debate that we should improve or promote ability of remembering various things/informations so that we will not be too much dependent on various man made devices/options.
  • Nov 12 2011: First no one really remembers a lot......think about the history courses you may have taken. What stuck? Very little. And that is a human trait. Conversely using information, when there is a problem to be solved, makes the worlds largest library and greatest invention more than just a hand tool. I would also submit that people do remember more interacting with the information as most have areas of interest.
  • Nov 11 2011: Possibly. But if someone uses a search engine with the intent of remembering it later then most likely they will remember it.
    Thought has to go into whatever you going to look up.
    If the information your seeking is for a short term use only then, ya sure you probably wouldn't remember it.