The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Business & Technology

September 26, 2013

Is Google wrecking our memory?

(Continued)

Experiments have borne out Wegner's theory. One group of researchers studied older couples who'd been together for decades. When separated and questioned individually about the events of years ago, they'd sometimes stumble on details. But questioned together, they could retrieve them. How? They'd engage in "cross-cuing," tossing clues back and forth until they triggered each other. This is how a couple remembered a show they saw on their honeymoon 40 years previously:

F: And we went to two shows, can you remember what they were called?

M: We did. One was a musical, or were they both? I don't . . . no . . . one . . .

F: John Hanson was in it.

M: Desert Song.

F: Desert Song, that's it, I couldn't remember what it was called, but yes, I knew John Hanson was in it.

M: Yes.

They were, in a sense, Googling each other. Other experiments have produced similar findings. In one, people were trained in a complex task — assembling an AM/FM radio — and tested a week later. Those who'd been trained in a group and tested with that same group performed far better than individuals who worked alone; together, they recalled more steps and made fewer mistakes. In 2009 researchers followed 209 undergraduates in a business course as they assembled into small groups to work on a semester-long project. The groups that scored highest on a test of their transactive memory — in other words, the groups where members most relied on each other to recall information — performed better than those who didn't use transactive memory. Transactive groups don't just remember better: They also analyze problems more deeply, too, developing a better grasp of underlying principles.

We don't remember in isolation — and that's a good thing. "Quite simply, we seem to record as much outside our minds as within them," as Wegner has written. "Couples who are able to remember things transactively offer their constituent individuals storage for and access to a far wider array of information than they would otherwise command." These are, as Wegner describes it in a lovely phrase, "the thinking processes of the intimate dyad."

Text Only
Business & Technology
  • China McDonald's KFC [Duplicate] China meat scandal hits Starbucks, Burger King BEIJING — A suspect meat scandal in China engulfed Starbucks and Burger King today and spread to Japan where McDonald’s said the Chinese supplier accused of selling expired beef and chicken had provided 20 percent of the meat in its chicken nuggets.C

    July 22, 2014 5 Photos

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • McDonald's, KFC in China face scandal BEIJING — McDonald’s and KFC in China faced a new food safety scare today after a Shanghai television station reported a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken.The companies said they immediately stopped using meat from the supplier, Husi Food C

    July 21, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 18, 2014

  • Microsoft cutting 18,000 jobs, signals new path

    Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history Thursday, saying it will cut 18,000 jobs or 14 percent of its workforce as it streamlines its Nokia mobile device business to focus on using the Windows Phone operating system.

    July 17, 2014

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rejected Time Warner bid by Fox shows growth mood NEW YORK (AP) — In a move that aims to counter consolidation among TV distributors, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox has made an unsolicited takeover offer for rival media giant Time Warner for about $76 billion in cash and stock.Time Warner rejected the bid, wh

    July 17, 2014

  • What happens to your online accounts when you die?

    You've probably decided who gets the house or that family heirloom up in the attic when you die. But what about your email account and all those photos stored online?

    July 16, 2014

Facebook