Technology and memory: the pros and cons
Everywhere you look, someone has a piece of technology in their hand, on their lap or even mounted around their head.
The genie is out of the bottle and is never going back in; technological advancement and its over-riding influence upon our everyday lives is here to stay. But has this obsession with gadgetry resulted in us no longer relying on memory?
When it comes to an activity such as reading maps, an automated voice can tell us where we’re going; and if you want to recall someone’s phone number or birthday, that data is just a click away on any number of personal devices.
Is all this quite simply bad or does it mean those faculties which are no longer being used might be accommodating other kinds of useful information?
Ever been on holiday and visited a tourist spot where you’ve taken a limitless number of photos in order to ‘remember’ the occasion.
Your reliance on a camera means that the brain won’t have digested the information as it once would have. But then again, you’ve taken those photos so you can access them later. Except, will you?
Given how disorganised most humans can be with perfectly manageable amounts of information, a database containing thousands of images might well linger on your device or desktop waiting indefinitely to be properly filed (and then easily accessed).
Meanwhile, our true memory of that holiday (or concert or speech or fireworks display etc) might be vaguely recalled through our lens-shaped mind’s eye.
There’s a theory kicking about that the more we write down on paper, the more we are likely to remember small and big details.
Allowing our eyes to scroll through screened type on tablets, phones or e-books results in our brains functioning in a more digitised, scattered and fragmented way inevitably leading to information being lost in our heads. But perhaps it’s the way that we use the information we read now that is important as opposed to how we remember facts and details.
While no one would ever dream of using their iPhone to win a pub quiz (would they?), the various methods of receiving and collating information means that presenting data is more important than simply remembering it.
Digital technology means that a variety of audio and visual ideas are available to us and our ability to interact with it and pick out the main bits we need is more valuable to having total recall.
But what happens when your smartphone or PC fails to work at the moment you need them the most? The information you require might no longer be a click or two away and you haven’t built up the requisite depth of knowledge to dig out a crucial fact.
While our ability to access swathes of information and data is more enhanced than ever before, there seems little doubt that the multi-distractions of our uber-technological modern culture have re-configured our brains. All the facts and advice we could ever need are at our fingertips, but our ability to remember (and communicate) any of it is less certain.
Do you think your use of technology might be affecting your memory in a negative way?
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor (see all)
- Digital healthcare tools - April 18, 2019
- Should parents stop using chocolate for egg hunts? - April 17, 2019
- Silversurfers Book Club Spring 2019 - April 15, 2019
- Our favourite Easter weekend recipes - April 15, 2019
- What’s the best way to relieve stress? - April 12, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!