Examine claims electronics might help reminiscence


A British research revealed within the scientific journal Journal of Experimental Psychology: Common – publication of American Psychological Affiliation – confirmed that utilizing exterior units, corresponding to smartphones, to retailer data, not solely helps to recollect them, but additionally to recollect others that individuals put within the background. Researchers recommend that the usage of know-how can enhance reminiscence abilities, within the sense that individuals can bear in mind duties that they had been prone to neglect or that may not be prioritized.

The research runs counter to a stream of neuroscientists who worry that know-how use impacts cognitive reminiscence abilities, and makes use of phrases like “digital dementia” and “digital amnesia” to explain potential results of smartphones and different units. “We had been in a position to conclude that when individuals retailer some data on an exterior gadget, they ‘reuse’ their very own inside reminiscence capability for different functions,” says neuroscientist Sam Gilbert, senior writer of the analysis and professor at College Faculty London (UCL) , to Estadão.

Gilbert says that the primary curiosity of the research was to know what occurs to reminiscence when individuals resolve to retailer data externally, along with understanding how the significance of the duty influences the selection to set reminders. For this, they concerned 158 volunteers, aged 18 to 71, in a reminiscence recreation that they developed on a pc with a contact display screen, in three experiments.

The sport labored like this: members noticed as much as 12 circles on the display screen and needed to bear in mind to tug some to the left and a few to the fitting. One facet was thought-about “excessive worth” and the opposite “low worth”.

Between rounds, the volunteers confronted conditions the place they might select which data to retailer (on the pc itself) and a few the place they might solely put together reminders for high-value ones, along with shock assessments, wherein they might not “paste”.


The primary discovering was not surprising, however, in response to Gilbert, nobody had executed a research of the type to show it: individuals have a tendency to make use of exterior reminders for data with excessive related worth.

“A reminiscence gadget like a smartphone will probably be extra dependable than our personal reminiscence, at the very least for sure kinds of data,” he explains. “It is sensible that for a very powerful issues we’d use a tool like a smartphone, which is prone to be more practical than simply counting on reminiscence itself.”


When making reminders on the digital gadget for the high-value circles, reminiscence improved for remembering them (18%). One thing that was shocking was to watch that the reminiscence for the low-value ones additionally elevated (27%) – even contemplating those that didn’t set a reminder for the duty with the bottom reward.

The primary speculation for this has been referred to as “cognitive overflow”: when high-value content material is saved, inside reminiscence is reallocated to low-value content material.

Nonetheless, this comes at a price. When the exterior gadget was eliminated, members had superior reminiscence for low-value content material. That is why Gilbert highlights the significance of constructing backups. The neuroscientist believes that the advantages of utilizing digital units, nonetheless, outweigh this danger. “Individuals should not be alarmed by means of know-how, we must always take into consideration how finest to make use of know-how to empower individuals and enhance lives.”


Gilbert says, nonetheless, that the research has limitations and requires additional analysis to raised help the outcomes. One among these limitations is that the main target of the research was to know the overall ideas of reminiscence.

As well as, the researchers used touchscreen computer systems to play the assessments. Whereas they count on the findings to use to some other reminiscence gadget, corresponding to smartphones, they consider the subject requires additional analysis.

As well as, the research was carried out in laboratories. Understanding the connection between the usage of exterior reminders and day-to-day reminiscence, due to this fact, wants additional investigation.

For him, the usage of smartphones may even assist with reminiscence. “It might probably enhance reminiscence within the sense that by storing some data on an exterior gadget, it offers individuals the power to recollect further data with their very own reminiscence that they might not be capable to do in any other case. That is a technique that utilizing these units can enhance reminiscence,” he argues. For the specialist, the worry of scientists of the prevalence of “digital dementia” or “digital amnesia” is “exaggerated”.

The data is from the newspaper. The State of São Paulo.

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