Technology’s Impact on Memory


A visual representation playing with the idea that technology is decreasing people’s memory capabilities by using Dory, the forgetful fish.

Technology has become a major part of everyday life for most people. Cell phones have become radios, phone books, encyclopedias and much more. There is an endless amount of information given at the flick of a screen. This age of technological advancements has rapidly increased the amount of information people have access to. However, with all this information easily stored in pocket sized computers, people’s want and ability to memorize information has rapidly decreased.

The effects of technology on memory are seen most evident in the youth, whose young brains are still developing. International educator David A. Sousa explained, “exposure to technology is actually wiring their [youth] brains differently.” He explained how teens try to crash-course their way through life by always trying to scan for the most important information quickly, to be more efficient.

The impact of technology is seen daily. People are becoming more inclined to grab their cell phones to record or capture pictures instead of enjoying the moment and trying to capture the moment as a memory.

English teacher Elise Hatfield tries not to depend on technology. “I tend to put my phone away and enjoy the moment,” she said.

Yet, the dependence on technology for information has become almost inevitable.

Junior Robert Carroll explained, “I depend on technology to save moments that happen with friends so I can watch them later and have them saved rather than just in my head.”

“I depend on my phone to remember events, meetings, contact information, directions, budgeting data and more,” said Hatfield.

The thought of having to rely solely on memory for every part of daily life can seem virtually impossible and extremely daunting.

Catherine Loveday, a reporter for The Business Times argued that “technology is changing the way we use our memory at times,” yet there are many other factors effecting the memory capabilities of the youth.

“For example poor quality sleep, stress, distractions, depression and alcohol consumption,” explained Loveday.

In today’s day and age, people have begun to rely more on technology, as facts, locations, and more are easily accessed from it.

Junior Nicole Lindsey explained the effects of technology.

“Before technology, people had to memorize phone numbers. We also have google translate now, so we don’t need to memorize languages as much and people probably don’t know how to read maps anymore because we have GPS’s.”

“I used to memorize the streets on a new route before leaving the house. Now I can follow a map [GPS] while I’m en route to a new location,” said Hatfield.

Technology may be decreasing people’s need to memorize information, but that doesn’t mean the want of people to retain information is diminishing.

“I see the need in my life to continue to memorize information. When I travel, I bring painting supplies so that I can be more fully present in the moment and be either painting or re-creating the moment at the end of the day. My memories from these moments are typically much more vivid and detailed than the pictures I’ve taken to review later,” said Hatfield.

How people remember certain moments or pieces of information is extremely individualized. Technology helps each person keep specific information with them at all times.

“I have to use my phone for a lot of things for class to look up stuff that I know I’ve heard or learned already but I just can’t remember,” said Lindsey.

The age of technology has decreased the need to memorize minute details of everyday life such as phone numbers and weather patterns. Yet, this evolution of technology has opened society to an immense amount of information accessible at every moment of the day.