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Shocking Fact: We Don’t Remember What We Don’t have to Remember

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This alarmist headline (“Internet Use Affects Memory, Study Finds“) nicely plays into every technophobe’s worst fear: The internet is destroying our brains. But when you look at the details, it is absolutely rational. Two groups were told some stupid trivia and then one group was told that the information was saved and another group was told that it would be erased. Guess which group was more likely to remember the information? Look: the more trivial facts that are online, the less we need to remember and the more we can use our brains for valuable types of thinking. This isn’t dreadful; it is economically rational and very wonderful.

If you disagree, please get busy and memorize Wikipedia.

Jeffrey Tucker is Editorial Director of the American Institute for Economic Research. He is author of It's a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes and Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo. Send him mail.

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