Is The Internet Falsely Elevating How Smart We Think We Are?

Is The Internet Falsely Elevating How Smart We Think We Are?

How do you gauge how smart someone is? It is a commonly accepted measure that being knowledgeable on a wide range of topics is a good basis for being smart. The individual who gets most of the answers right at trivia night at your local pub is likely held in high stead.If you don't know the answer to something, you can find it in a matter of keystrokes on a search engine (in a non-competition setting). Well, if the question is as trivial as, say, what country brews Heineken. Maybe if the question is, what is Rabi frequency? Just a few seconds might not be enough. Either way, the answer is at your fingertips. But is searching on the internet falsely elevating how smart you think you are? A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology reveals that you think you are smarter when you have the assistance of a search engine.

Smart Due To Search Engines?

The research conducted at Yale University set out to determine how the ability to search the internet reflected how smart someone thought they were. The study surveyed 202 participants. The conditions of the experiment were offered in seven different variations to account for the universality of the results. Meaning, the study covered as many angles as possible to achieve an irrefutable effect.In one experiment half, the participants were allowed to use search engines; while the other half had to answer questions without the assistance of the internet. After that, all the participants were presented with another set of questions, but this time they were asked how well they thought they could answer them without actually completing them. The subjects who had access to the internet in the previous round of questions evaluated their capabilities higher than those who hadn't used search engines. Other variations of this experiment also produced similar results.

Smart Due To Other Software?

The notion of the internet falsely elevating our idea of being smart isn't only related to search engines. Recently an acquaintance of mine showed me a website that he had "designed." The act of dragging pictures and texts together to a preset template is not designing a website from scratch.  It is creating a website with tools that are available to you. His layout was quite impressive; although he had made it from a template similar to wix.com. Sure, the structure and the aesthetic appeal should be commended, but that speaks to the artistic skills. One should recognize the difference.The "user-friendliness" of web based and stand alone software appears to have blurred the partition between knowledge and technology. It is a crowning testament to the abilities of the developers of the software. Just because someone knows the jargon and is proficient at using a software has no merit when it comes to developing it.The internet is a vast repository of information. The ability to navigate and filter pertinent information is a valuable asset. Moreover, it is likely that search engines will always accompany us wherever we are for the foreseeable future. So maybe it is not necessary that we have to store things in our memory as we used to. But for the sake of personal fulfillment, we could educate ourselves about how the internet affects how we retain information.

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