Strategic memory in the information age: "The Google Effect" in young and old adults
Glen, Nell. Dissertation, 2014.docx (115.3Kb)
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This study aimed to replicate evidence which suggests people’s memories have been affected by increasing use of technologies like computers and the Internet (Sparrow et al, 2011). Additionally, it aimed to test whether these effects could be observed in older adults (60 - 75 years) due to age-related differences in memory and computer abilities. A between groups, within subjects design was used to explore performance on, firstly, baseline ability tasks and, secondly, free recall and cued recall tasks after studying trivia statements on a computer screen that had either been saved, erased or saved into a specific folder. In the younger group, participants were shown to have better memory for the information they thought had been erased, compared to the information they thought had been saved, implying a lack of encoding for the type of information people think they can access continuously, like it is on the internet. This effect was not observed in the older age group. In both groups, memory for where to find information was not better than memory for the information itself, implying encoding strategies have not shifted from remembering information, to instead remembering where to find the information Findings were, for the most part, consistent with expectations as evidence was found for an age-related difference in participant’s memory and computer abilities. However, there is not enough evidence to be conclusive on whether older participant’s memory strategies are different from younger participants due to their varied exposure to computers and the internet.