Byline: NICK BRAMHILL
WIDESPREAD use of internet search engines such as Google can cause memory loss, scientists have discovered.
Experts said our increasing reliance on "googling" for answers is impairing our ability to remember facts.
Researchers found people are more likely than ever before to forget information because it is so readily available on the web.
Professor Betsy Sparrow of Columbia University, New York, said their findings showed the internet has become an important part of our "transactive memory" - those pieces of information we do not remember but know how to retrieve.
An example is knowing that a road atlas can be referred to instead of memorising the route to a rarely visited destination.
The findings were published in Science magazine following four different studies in the US which examined how memory works.
One gave two groups trivia questions - one set easy, the other hard - then asked them to remember a series of words which were coloured red or blue.
Those who had struggled over the difficult trivia were quicker at identifying the colour of words that related to search engines such as Google or Yahoo, suggesting their brains were still looking for a way to find answers to the trivia. …