Our memories are getting worse. And our phones might be to blame.
A new study that looked at more than 6,000 adults from all over Europe found that we are turning to the Internet to recall information at astonishing rates. Not just things we should have to look up, either: more than a third of the participants used a search to figure out basic information, like what their phone number or the numbers of their loved ones were.
Even more, many participants who could remember a phone number from their childhood had trouble recalling current phone numbers they use daily.
But there are ways around it.
"Our brain appears to strengthen a memory each time we recall it, and at the same time forget irrelevant memories that are distracting us," Dr. Maria Wimber from the University of Birmingham told the BBC.
That means that passively recalling information by doing things like looking it up is the root cause of our poorly functioning memories. Via the BBC:
Among adults surveyed in the UK, 45% could recall their home phone number from the age of 10, while 29% could remember their own children's phone numbers and 43% could remember their work number.
If you're worried about your own memory, there are some solutions already in the works. Websites like Luminosity and FitBrain claim to help strengthen your brain through games that improve brain cognition.
Here are the Young Turks discussing the study:
Cover image via Matt Cardy/Getty Images.