For a Better Memory, Hit 'Delete'

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 - 01:00 AM

Betsy Sparrow doesn't know her sister's phone number, and she blames the internet. 

Sparrow is a Psychology professor at Columbia University where she studies, among other things, how our memories change depending on whether we delete or save something on our computers and mobile devices.

"If we didn't have access to the internet, we would remember more," Sparrow says. "Because we would know we wouldn't have access to this external memory system that we have with email and online news sources."

The glut of information we deal with every day in the digital age also plays a role in what we remember and how we feel about what we forget. 

"There's so much information out there in the world that we remember probably even more than we ever used to, but it just feels to us like we don't remember as much," Sparrow says. 

This interview is an excerpt from this week's New Tech City podcast on emphemerality. You can listen to the full podcast below or on iTunes.


Betsy Sparrow

Hosted by:

Manoush Zomorodi

Produced by:

Alex Goldmark and Daniel P. Tucker


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