The digital revolution might be making us stupid according to boffins who have been worried about the long term effects of using gadgets rather than thinking.
Studies on sat-nav use have found that while they helped motorists on their journey, they affected memory. While sat-nav users have found that while they helped motorists on their journey, they affected memory and drivers remembered less about what they have seen along the way – and could not retrace the route when asked to drive it again.
Another study found that museum-goers given digital cameras remembered objects they had photographed less well than other exhibits.
Evan Risko, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Waterloo, warned: ‘If you are allowed to store some to-be-remembered information on a computer, chances are you won’t devote cognitive real estate to remembering it. ‘As a result, your ability to remember that information without the computer will likely be reduced.
‘There’s little doubt that these new technologies are affecting what we remember.’
In a paper co-authored by University College London neuroscientist Sam Gilbert, Dr Risko reviewed studies into cognitive offloading – or using the outside world to save on brainpower.
Professor Risko and Dr Gilbert said: ‘It was argued that the act of taking a photograph led individuals to offload the memory for the object onto the camera.’
One study found that people who searched for information on the internet had an over-inflated sense of their own intelligence afterwards. Asked questions on completely unrelated topics, they maintained they knew more than others.
Technology could be causing ‘digital dementia’ in children wcan’t memorise basic maths.
Writing in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, the academics said cognitive offloading is not new.
Something as simple as twisting the head to view an upside down picture or writing dates in a diary takes strain away from the brain.
In some cases, it is helpful, with technology allowing us to ‘subvert our cognitive limits’.
However, the long-term consequence of living in a modern, hi-tech environment in which we ‘constantly offload our cognition’ are unknown.
Professor Risko said: ‘Cognitive offloading undoubtedly brings huge benefits but also potential costs.
One study found that people who searched for information on the internet had an over-inflated sense of their own intelligence afterwards
‘We are just beginning to understand these effects.
All this explains Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump and why music today is such rubbish.