Mind Over Meal: Is Google Making You Forget About Your Favorite New Bars and Restaurants?

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The “Google effect” is changing the way your brain forms memories
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The "Google effect" is the tendency to forget information that can easily be found online using a search engine.

Have you ever read an article about a cool new bar or restaurant but couldn’t remember its name or location a few hours later?

Or perhaps you discovered a great new recipe but couldn’t remember the main ingredients when you got to the store?

You may even struggle to remember which new beer received that great rating on Beer Advocate right as you’re about to order it at the bar.

No, you aren’t slipping into dementia (most likely), but you are experiencing what psychologists call the “Google effect.” The Google effect, or the tendency to forget information that can easily be found online using a search engine, is a byproduct of the new ways in which our brains are being transformed by repeated use of the internet.  While our daily use of Google and other search engines aren’t making us lose our memory or ability to learn, it does rewire our brains to make it much more difficult to recall things that we need to commit to memory, whether it’s that great burger bar down the street or the best fine dining abroad. 

So if you find yourself struggling to remember the name of that new restaurant that got a great writeup in the Times, don’t blame yourself, blame the internet. And pay extra special attention to the places you fall in love with, because they may be forgotten about sooner than you think. 

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