It is Friday evening and my wife and I are watching a movie, when we notice an actor that we have seen in previous movies. Wondering what other movies he has been in, we quickly grab our phones to find out. We won’t spend much time searching the archives of our brains because – well, it just takes too much effort. The habit has been termed the “Google Effect.”
In a 2011 study, individuals were instructed to learn a series of unimportant facts and record them on a computer. Half of the group were told that the computer would store the information while the other half were led to believe that the data would be delated. As one might suspect, when asked to recall the information later, the group who had been told that the computer would not store the data, demonstrated better memory recall.
Our reliance on technology and media multi-tasking is reducing both our working and long-term memory. It is actually changing the structure of our brains. And with an aging population, Alzheimer’s disease is projected to impact 14 million Americans by the year 2050.
So, if you want to live life to the fullest, with a better functioning brain, try a couple strategies: 1) spending 15 minutes a day reading or learning something new, and 2) dig into the recesses of your mind a little more diligently before defaulting to technology. I sometimes feel half-brained as it is, so I would really like to get to the end of my journey with as much of it intact as possible.