Though it is impossible to imagine a life without smartphones, tablets and laptops now, there was actually such a time and people had better memories then, say British researchers, adding that these gadgets make it harder for us to remember details when unaided, affecting our ability to recall information.
Growing options of wireless devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops can free-up mental resources by outsourcing unnecessary tasks to the gadgets.
However, their scientific evidence also found the ease of access to online searches is making it harder for humans to remember information without the help of a computer.
“Remembering your shopping list or an appointment is not the most effective use of your cognitive resources and if you can be reminded of that task it frees-up more space which can be used for a number of things,” said Sam Gilbert, a research fellow in cognitive neuroscience at University College London and one of the authors of the review published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
This so-called “cognitive offloading” — or the use of tools to reduce the demand on our brains — should strengthen our memories but other studies the experts considered showed technologies are affecting our ability to remember details.
Research showed drivers who used Global Positioning System remembered less about their journeys and struggled to complete the routes again when unaided.
Another study into the use of digital cameras showed those who took pictures in museums could not recall as many details about exhibits as those who did not.
“There is a clear need to better understand how offloading demands onto various technologies impact on our organic abilities both in the short - and long-term,” the review added.
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