Wednesday, 7 October 2015

"Reading and writing is eroding human memory"

From the BBC, some time in the late Middle Ages:

An over-reliance on using maps and reference books is weakening people's memories, according to a study.

It showed many people jotted things down and referred to them later instead of memorising information. Many adults who could still recall their childhood friends' birthdays could not remember birthdays of people they met later in life. There is an alarming trend of people using 'shopping lists' to remind themselves what they wanted to buy.

Maria Wimber from the University of Birmingham said the trend of looking up information which people had first written down "prevents the build-up of long-term memories". The study, examining the memory habits of 6,000 adults in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, found more than a third would turn first to written sources to recall information.

The UK had the highest level, with more than half "looking in the Encyclopaedia, parish records or maps for the answer first". Ms Wimber gave the telling example of a parish priest who read out loud from The Bible instead of learning the relevant passage by rote.


A K Haart said...

I blame pencils - far too cheap and available.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, the rot set in with slates and chalk, once the buggers invented "printing" it was pretty much game over.