Chapter 9: Search and Memory (Carr 2011) (Reflection/Questions (What about…
Chapter 9: Search and Memory (Carr 2011)
Memory is more than the sum of things remembered: the essence of the unique self (Seneca 1512)
Commonplaces: notebooks which were a vehicle for and a chronicle of one's intellectual development
"Memorization is a waste of time"
Thompson: brains are freed to perform daydreaming and brainstorming
Short Term & Long Term Memories
Protein plays an essential role in producing structural changes in cells
Formation of long term memories involves not only biochemical changes but anatomical
Hippocampus stores new memories until the transformation to the cortex is complete
can take years to happen
hippocampus is erased
Helps link new memories to older ones
Long term memory can grow and expand
Recollections of people, events, facts, ideas, feelings and impressions
Long term storage involves all of the biochemical and molecular processes of synaptic consolidation that play out in storing implicit memories (ie rehearsed skills)
requires "system consolidation" which involves concerted interactions among far-flung areas of the brain
For memory to persist, information must be thoroughly and deeply processed
Overloads working memory
frontal lobes unable to concentrate our attention, therefore, memory consolidation can't get started.
greater use of web implies greater adaptation to getting distracted
Quote, Paraphrase, Summarize
"With each expansion of our memory comes an enlargement of our intelligence. The Web provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal memory, but when we start using the Web as a substitute for personal memory, bypassing the inner processes of consolidation, we risk emptying our minds of their riches." (Carr p. 192)
While most of the chapter focuses on the perceived negative impact that using the Web has on our brains, the quote above zeros in on the real issue. It is not the Web in and of itself, it is how we use the tool: do we just grab information or do we internalize it?
Focus of the chapter is on individuals as consumers of data, but the web also gives us the opportunities to create it and contribute to collective knowledge base. To do so, wouldn't we be engaging in those processes which would develop long term, internalized memories?
What about the effect of emotion/time/new information on memory? This is alluded to, but not directly addressed. Emotion does not alter the facts in computer memory.
Are there two kinds of memory? One which is fact-based, the other interpreted?
Carr's book was started in 2007, first published in 2010
2007 Facebook had 58 million users. By 2013 that grew to 1.2 billion. YouTube began in 2005 took until 2013 to hit 1 billion visitors.
Web 2.0/Facebook debut in 2004. Users are not just consumers of data
Has this change in utilization from consumer to contributor impacted Carr's findings?
Trivia: Isidore, the bishop of Seville who is mentioned in the chapter is, among other things, the Patron Saint of the Internet.
The social nature of creating content could bring about some of the strengths that the oral tradition in communities had of keeping the "important stuff" accurate.
Carr draws upon the history of the book as a new technology
Rather than crippling memory, it supplemented it
Discusses how memory works
Does not see the technology of web surfing analogous to the impact that the book had on memory
Quotes LeDoux that biological memory is in a perpetual state of renewal: memory is recalled, updated and stored. Carr contends that memory in a computer is static. [ yet programs and users can recall, update and save information in a computer memory. Seems to forget, that somewhere in the process is a human creating this information]