“Googlified” Brains on the Internet

“If we don’t know the answer to something, our first thought is likely to be ‘Google.'”

GooglifiedThere was a recent article in Median recently entitled “This Is Your Brain on the Internet, by Erman Misirlisoy, PhD. The subtitle: “We know where to find information — we just can’t remember it anymore.” I thought the primary points were self-evidently true.

“Our internet usage has ‘Googlified’ our brain, making us more dependent on knowing where to access facts and less able to remember the facts themselves.” That’s the key sentence for me.

“The internet acts as a great aid, but our faith and reliance on it can make us overconfident in our own abilities.” I think this is why I get cranky when people say, “I’ll just Google it.” People seem to use it, not just as a helper for thinking, but in lieu of thinking.

“The internet has changed the way that our brains work. Humans have always been good at learning and adapting to new environments. So given the internet’s dramatic impact on life in the developed world, it is no surprise that we have adjusted our thinking and behavior…”

How do you know the information is incorrect if you don’t already have general knowledge already? I recently caught an error on a podcast I listen to. The announcer said Rockin’ Robin was a Jackson 5 song when I knew it was a Michael Jackson song. It was also a cover of a 1958 hit by Bobby Day. A small thing, sure, but if one were to Google that uncorrected info, the misinformation spreads.

“Researchers have used this principle to test whether difficult trivia questions automatically activate internet-related concepts in our brain. If we don’t know the answer to something, our first thought is likely to be ‘Google.’ When study participants took part in a behavioral task immediately following difficult trivia questions, their performance in that task worsened when words like ‘Google’ appeared on a screen, distracting them…”

This is why, I suppose, I am old-fashioned enough to be impressed when people I know IRL show that they can extract information sans electronic aids. Like Chuck’s team winning a national trivia competition. Or Darrin placing second in the inaugural Times Union Crossword Championship.

January rambling #1: Tower of Terror

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born

2016: The Movie

First BLOTUS Press Conference, Annotated

‘Gaslighting’ all of us

FLATUS Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’ – Diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats have been embarrassed by leaks of compromising material

The body language of FLATUS, and the 20 best nicknames; are you sorry yet?

FLATUS plan to keep his business is national embarrassment

How Populism Goes Bad

Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that
Continue reading “January rambling #1: Tower of Terror”

April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple


The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.
Continue reading “April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth”

B is for Brain Blips

On 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl reported on a very rare ability: to remember each day of your life as if it happened yesterday. It’s called ‘superior autobiographical memory’.

A couple months ago, I came across this interview of Barbara Strauch, author of “The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talent of the Middle-Aged Mind.”

This paragraph jumped out at me: “Strauch notes that people in midlife start experiencing more brain blips. She opens the book in her basement, pondering what she went there for. She asks around, and finds that her middle-aged acquaintances have similar zone-outs.”

I so recognize this. Oh, and this: “Names in particular are easy to forget if all we’ve learned is the sound. The more context we have — the more ways something is cross-referenced in our memory banks — the better chance we have of excavating it from storage.”

When we were children, my sisters and I used to razz my grandmother for saying things like, “Oh, that’s the old [such and so] building.” It had never been called that in OUR lifetimes; why couldn’t she call it what it’s called now?

Move forward 40 years. I seriously can’t remember Continue reading “B is for Brain Blips”