Digital Brains Vs. The Active Rehearsal Of Information

What is the impact of cellphone technologies on our memory?

Its not just the kids who are forgetting basic skills like writing the alphabet due to cellphone technology, but also adults — who, thanks to digital address books in cell phones, don’t remember (or know) the numbers of even their families anymore. Interestingly, while we now program all our known numbers into our phones and dial by calling up names, we still tend to remember older numbers from the age of land lines.

Professor Elizabeth Loftus, a memory expert, explains the phenomenon:

In the days when you made a phone call by dialing, that action “provided an active rehearsal of the information,” essential for committing information to long-term memory. Before digital address books, she said, “you might be exposed to a phone number hundreds of times. But now you just look it up. Technology has taken that rehearsal process away from us.

Fortunately for us, she assures that cellphone address books, while remembering information for us, don’t have a negative impact on our memorizing capabilities and intelligence.

NY Times: “Dumbed-Down Dialing”

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