Good thoughts.

But if you ask, "Who today memorizes epic verse", I might answer: 
religious fundamentalists.
Is that good or bad (and for whom)?


On 8/13/11 1:01 PM, Michael H Goldhaber wrote:
> Socrates notably feared that writing would destroy the ability to hold 
> things in memory, and it certainly did. Who today memorizes epic verse 
> or a list of (male) ancestors going back dozens of generations? As I 
> believe Einstein said, why memorize an equation when you can easily 
> look it up? Certainly the advent of Google, Wikipedia, etc., changes 
> potential strategies for learning, perhaps in profound ways we can 
> only guess at crudely.
> Best,
> Michael
> On Aug 13, 2011, at 10:19 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask] 
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>> I agree with Eric, and posted this for discussion. The ability to 
>> store information (and symbolic expression) externally was probably 
>> one of the major advances in the evolution of human cognition. A key 
>> tome on this is Merlin Donald's book "Origins of the Modern Mind".
>> MB
>> On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 7:07 PM, Eric Entemann <[log in to unmask] 
>> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>>     I find the stated conclusions to be extremely dubious, since they
>>     contrast so sharply with my personal experience.  I think the
>>     easy access to information is one of the greatest boons of the
>>     "computer age", and indeed find that looking up information
>>     combined with the ease with which one can follow hyperlinks to go
>>     into greater depth is a fabulous aid toward deeper understanding,
>>     and, of course, greater retention of the basic factual information.
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>     Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2011 12:36:52 +0000
>>     From: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>>     Subject: Google Effects on Memory
>>     To: [log in to unmask]
>>     <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>>           Sent to you by Michael via Google Reader:
>>         Google Effects on Memory
>>         <>
>>     via International Cognition and Culture Institute
>>     <>
>>     by [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> (Nicolas
>>     Claidière) on 8/5/11
>>     A new article entitled "Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive
>>     Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips
>>     <>"
>>     by Sparrow, Liu & Wegner should be of interest to scholars
>>     interested in the effect of culture on cognition. It documents
>>     the effect of having access to online ressources of information
>>     on the way in which people look for answers (Exp. 1), remember
>>     things (Exp. 2), remember where to find information (Exp. 3) and
>>     whether they are more likely to memorize where to find some
>>     information rather than the information itself (Exp. 4).
>>     *Abstract*: "The advent of the Internet, with sophisticated
>>     algorithmic search engines, has made accessing information as
>>     easy as lifting a finger. No longer do we have to make costly
>>     efforts to find the things we want. We can “Google” the old
>>     classmate, find articles online, or look up the actor who was on
>>     the tip of our tongue. The results of four studies suggest that
>>     when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think
>>     about computers and that when people expect to have future access
>>     to information, they have lower rates of recall of the
>>     information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to
>>     access it. The Internet has become a primary form of external or
>>     transactive memory, where information is stored collectively
>>     outside ourselves."
>>           Things you can do from here:
>>         * Subscribe to International Cognition and Culture Institute
>>           <>
>>           using *Google Reader*
>>         * Get started using Google Reader
>>           <> to easily keep
>>           up with *all your favorite sites*
>> -- 
>> ******************************************
>> Michael Balter
>> Contributing Correspondent, Science
>> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>> New York University
>> Email: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> Web: <>
>> NYU: 
>> <>
>> ******************************************
>> “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that 
>> there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
>>                                                   --John Kenneth 
>> Galbraith