A research finding suggested using smartphones and other digital devices can boost memory skills.
The findings got published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Senior author of the study Sam Gilbert, speaking with the media, said their research’s aim was to find how memory abilities get influenced by gadget use.
“We found that when people were allowed to use an external memory, the device helped them to remember the information they had saved into it,” he said. “This was hardly surprising, but we also found that the device improved people’s memory for unsaved information as well.”
He said people used their own memory to store the most valuable information they would like to remember. He went on to say people save additional important information in the device, adding they use their own memory to store information which may not be that important.
The 158 subjects, between the age of 18 and 71, were made to perform memory on a computer and tablet. The researchers showed 12 circles to the participants. They instructed to put some on the right and some on the opposite side.
The two designated sides were named “high value” and “low value”. Remembering and dragging the circles in the high value meant 10 times more money than those who placed on the low-value side.
The subjects performed the memory task 16 times using their own memory to memorize for half of the experiment trials and being allowed to set reminders for the other half on the digital devices.
They found that the participants used the gadget to store information about the high-value circles. Using the devices improved their memory by 18 per cent.
There was a 27 per cent increase in low-value circles even in those who did not use the gadgets for setting reminders for the low-value circles.
Their memory for the low-value circles saw a by 27 per cent increase even in subjects who did not set reminders on their gadgets.
The findings got determined as “a potential cost to using reminders” by the researchers.
They found the subjects remembered the low-value circles better than the high-value ones when their reminders got taken away. It indicated that they “had entrusted the high-value circles to their devices and then forgotten about them.”
He said that external memory tools play a role in boosting memory abilities.
“Far from causing ‘digital dementia,’ using an external memory device can even improve our memory for information that we never saved,” he said.
He added: “We need to be careful that we back up the most important information. Otherwise, if a memory tool fails, we could be left with nothing but lower-importance information in our own memory.”