Is relying on Google and satnavs making us stupid? Google and satnavs take many of the stresses and strains out of the modern life.
Scientists say that research is urgently needed into the long-term consequences of relying on gadgets rather than our brains.
Evan Risko, a professor of cognitive psychology, warned: ‘If you are allowed to store some to-be-remembered information on a computer, chances are you won’t devote cognitive real estate to remembering it.’
In a paper co-authored by University College London neuroscientist Sam Gilbert, Dr Risko reviewed studies into ‘cognitive offloading’ – or using the outside world to save on brain power.
These include studies on satnav use, which have found that while they helped motorists on their journey, they affected memory.Other research suggests that the vast amounts of information on Google may fool us into thinking we are smarter than we actually are.
One study found that when people who searched for information on the internet were then asked questions on unrelated topics, they maintained they knew more than others.
Writing in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, the academics said that the long-term consequences of living in a hi-tech environment are unknown.
Professor Risko said: ‘There’s a lot of conversation about whether devices like smartphones are ruining us cognitively or not.
‘Cognitive offloading undoubtedly brings huge benefits but also potential costs.’