Handhelds Reduce Memory Capacity

As the memory capacity of handhelds increases, the memory capacity of their owners is decreasing. At least, that's the finding of researchers from Hokkaido University's school of medicine in Japan as reported in the Sunday Times. According to the study, a growing number of people are suffering from severe memory loss because of increasing reliance on computer technology. Doctors are blaming computers, PDAs, and other electronic memory aids because these lead to diminished use of the brain to work out problems.

A preliminary study of 150 people aged 20 to 35 has shown that more than one in 10 are suffering from severe problems with their memory.

Professor Pam Briggs of Northumbria University, who recently chaired a British Psychological Society symposium on the effects of technology, said, "Everyday memory might be at threat if you are using the computer as a kind of external memory."

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I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2001 8:37:42 AM #
I was going to post something, but I forgot.

RE: What?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2001 10:03:41 AM #
that was so funny I forgot to laugh

Britain's "Times" is equivalent to our "National Enquirer"

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2001 10:09:00 AM #
I wouldn't take anything they print very seriously.

This is misinformation at it's best...

mknowledge @ 2/10/2001 11:20:43 AM #
Complete hogwash. The relative sample, the cohort age-specific variability, and methods of this study are extremely suspect.

Memory accentuation with convenient knowledge reference may actually increase quality, reduce errors, and lead to more refined capability for abstract thought.

There is some question of all this "virtuality" leaving us less "in-tune" with our physiologic state and rudimentary fight/flight and/or hunt/gather skills... this may also be referenced in studies on culture, population, and obesity... direct correlation between commuter communities more dependent on motor-powered transportation and incidence of obesity may be more a manifestation of industrialized society and laziness... would rather think that that has more effect on memory than the ready reference to complex knowledge resources that a handheld computer provides.

RE: This is misinformation at it's best...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/11/2001 8:54:21 PM #
The massive assumption here is that the _use_ of the handheld _causes_ the loss of memory, but as every 1st year science student knows, correlation does not equal cause. A simpler explination for the correlation is that people with bad short term memory are more likely to use a handheld.

little gray cells

Spell @ 2/10/2001 12:04:48 PM #
(Didn't early studies about calculators herald the end of the human race's ability to add?)

I think what this study may not be addressing, among other things, is the sheer amount of information OUT THERE to keep track of. We've managed to mushroom the amount of information available to the average human at a rate that no mere evolutionary adjustment could keep up with. MY little gray cells are swimming, thanks. Could it be the information, not the information tracking tools, that are causing some of us to melt down?

Reduced memory

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2001 2:03:43 PM #
Er...what was that study about again ?

It helps

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/10/2001 8:45:03 PM #
I may not have to worry about little details like remembering a phone number, so now I can focus my efforts on things that really matter.

I think it's true

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/11/2001 1:47:31 PM #
Firstly, the Sunday Times is a serious newspaper - actually probably one of the best newspapers and I think it is owned by The Times.

Secondly, I do rely more and more on my Palm rather than my memory for a lot of things (phone number, to do's) so I am not surprised to read the conclusions of that study.

what bull

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/11/2001 2:37:34 PM #
I actually sleep better because of my palm. Instead of lying awake and trying to remind myself of stuff that has to be done tomorrow (acute hamster on the treadmill of my mind syndrome). I fall asleep because I've written it in my palm.


Darrin Roush @ 2/11/2001 3:11:01 PM #
I almost forgot my name, but then I found it in the Palm address book...

The Facts

British User @ 2/12/2001 4:14:39 AM #
For all you yanks out there, the Times is not tabloid trash AKA Natinal Enquirer. Its the most respected National daily paper in Britain.
RE: The Facts
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2001 8:06:43 AM #
As far as I can remember, the Times is owned by the same person as the Sun and runs pretty much the same stories. The Sun is tabloid trash, but the Times takes longer to read.

Alcohol and Memory

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2001 5:31:04 AM #
In a similar but unrelated story it has been found that alcohol actually increases your memory.
Scientists have discovered this amazing fact by doing test.
It works like this:
In the Serengeti the lions attack the gazelle herds. A herd can only move as fast as the slowest gazelle. The lions catch the slowest gazelles allowing the herd to move faster.
In a similar way the brain only work as fast as the slowest brain cells. These are killed by alcohol allowing the brain to function faster. These results are to be published in the Feb 18th New England Journal.


I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2001 9:00:56 AM #
The same thing was said with the introduction of printed books and increased literacy
several hundred years ago. Before then memory was the thing that separated the intelligent
from the not so intelligent and people had amazing memories for things.

Once books were introduced and more people learned to read and write the ability
to remember things was not so important any more. Instead people started to use
their brains for understanding what they read rather than memorising it.

Getting our brains away from memorising and towards understanding things helped
fuel the advances we have made in the last few hundred years.

[ No Subject ]

ziffbam @ 2/12/2001 6:45:49 PM #
That is completely obsurd!

Memory Reduced, oh my!

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/12/2001 11:38:51 PM #
Don't teel our government about this, they will spend millions of tax dollars to see if it is true.


I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2001 1:27:21 AM #
I guess we should ban pens and paper and day-planners and books and computers and and digital wrist watches. YEAH ban watches, hell we need to sit around trying to remember what time it is. you pansy assed kids these days probably don' t remember the time when we had to calculate time it in our heads. there was no stinking atomic clock, just some guy with a beard and a government job making ticking noises. Yeah indeed, we'd better get rid of anything written or recorded-- IT'S CRIPPLING US. OH NO I JUST WROTE THIS DOWN, WILL I EVER REMEMBER ANYTHING, WHO AM I, WHAT AM I DOING, WHERE..ajg21k9872$^H2k

Or is it actually the reverse...

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2001 10:53:07 AM #
Maybe we got handhelds because we thought we had memory "problems". This would certainly taint the results of any study of handheld users and their memories. I hope they had a controlled study and had some people who did not use handhelds to compare against. And over how long a period was this study conducted?

I find that because I write down my todo's, and I see them often, I actually remember them better than before I had my beloved Palm IIIxe. By the way, how do I remember every street and address in Harris County, Texas (population 4 million)without my palm???



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