From what I understand, since we receive a lot of information every day, our brains are tasked with remembering the few important bits and ignoring (or forgetting) everything else. I also know of habituation, how we become ignorant of stimuli that repeat often and are irrelevant. I also know of the "learning pyramid". This is what I'm interested in: the internet, especially some parts (reddit, facebook, 9gag and so on), constantly bombards us with various "facts" - generally useless information. Is it possible that our brains, as a reaction to extensive internet usage, learn to ignore information that is only heard or read (we go two/three steps up on the learning pyramid)?

I ask this because I think it was a lot easier for me to remember things a few years back (I'm 17 now), when I wasn't using the internet as much, or at all. I know you learn easier when you are younger, but I don't think I'm that old yet.

  • $\begingroup$ It is unclear, to me, whether you are asking if learning too much weakens 1) current memories or 2) the ability to learn new memories. I think you are asking the latter, correct? $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2014 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


Current evidence suggests that internet access is not weakening memory, but changing what information is prioritized. This study referenced below suggests that when people expect to have future access to information, they are less likely to remember the information itself and more likely to remember where or how that information can be found.

Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu, Daniel M. Wegner Science 5 August 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6043 pp. 776-778.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1207745

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    $\begingroup$ Wow, that's actually very cool. Distributed cognition and whatnot :) $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2014 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ Very cool @blz! It's similar to what happens in long-standing couples--people outsource memory to the SO by domain. Can't find the citation for that one, though. . . $\endgroup$
    – Krysta
    Nov 17, 2014 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ if you ever do find it, I'd be very interested. I'll send it to my better half ;) $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2014 at 12:11

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