A new study indicates that the collective memory of computers and internet act as a "transactive memory" that alter the nature of human beings' memory.
Psychological experiments indicate that whenever people get involved in difficult issues, they refer to computers, which means they have to remember less.
The participants puzzled with questions rely on the available answers on computers and have poor recall of them in their own memory.
The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal Science, suggest that the internet acts as a "transactive memory" that we depend upon to remember for us.
“Transactive memory is an idea that there are external memory sources as storage places that exist in other people who are experts in certain things and regarded responsible for particular kinds of information,” said lead author Betsy Sparrow of Columbia University.
Transactive memory concept first was proposed by co-author of the research of Harvard University in a book chapter titled Cognitive Interdependence in Close Relationships which indicated that “long-term couples relied on each other to act as one another's memory banks.”
After some tests, the researchers concluded that we have a tendency to keep the information we find online externally stored.
“The propensity of participants to remember the location of the information, rather than the information itself, is a sign that people are not becoming less able to remember things, but simply organizing vast amounts of available information in a more accessible way,” Sparrow said.