getting dumber by the day

Tap, tap, tap… is this thing on?

Holy cow have I been busy lately. So much self imposed fun.

I came across this article last week and have been thinking about it. Aregadgets making you dumb?

The basic premise is that my having information at our fingertips, we don’t need to use the portion of our brains that remembers things like phone numbers or addresses. It is all saved in our cell phones or PDAs. And the less you use your memory, the worse it gets.


This may be reflected in the survey findings which show that the over 50s who grew up committing more to memory report better performance in many areas than those under 30 who are heavily reliant on technology to act as their day to day aide memoir.

I thought it was especially funny that 45% of men could not remember their wedding anniversary, while only 10% of women could not.

14 Responses to “getting dumber by the day”

  1. Brigitte Says:

    Har - well, I can’t blame PDAs or cell phones for my onset of stupidity, because we’re complete luddites technologically. I like to blame my DD.

  2. Brigitte Says:

    (Um, because of “mommy brain”, to clarify. And I don’t care if the latest studies deny it exists!)

  3. Monica Says:

    That’s why my husband married me two days before his birthday.

    I force myself to memorize phone numbers now. Not because I want to stimulate my memory, but because I’ve had my phones die on me beyond salvation and I’ve lost too many numbers. Never again.

  4. amyp Says:

    Our wedding date is etched on the inside of our wedding bands - so my husband has no excuse to forget. That being said, he’s more sentimental than me about dates. I remember about a year after we started dating, I glanced at his open Filofax - and it said “1-yr-anniversary, first date with Amy.” I had no idea when our first date was - when I mentioned it to him, he even told me what I was wearing on that day.

  5. Elaine Says:

    I too blame it on having kids more than technology. My kids stole brain cells in utero. I just wish they would use them.

  6. Susanne Says:

    I blame information overload. I used to have almost photographic memory now it’s more like a sieve. While having a child has dropped my IQ by about 20 points or so (I thought it was supposed to get better once I stopped breastfeeding.) I now read about 90 blogs in addition to the vast amounts of books. Also I know about 150 more people whose names I tend to forget. And the there’s speed dial. One day I found that I don’t know my parent’s phone number because they moved and I instantly put it in the phone (and the PDA of course).

    (And Monica, I have a paper copy of my PDA data plus a backup on my computer and on an external hard disk. But maybe I should return to memorizing phone numbers to stimulate my memory. I’m only afraid that for each number I learn something important will fall out of my brain…)

  7. Esme Says:

    I totally believe this. I’ve always hated relying on speed-dial and electronic calendar’s and GPS systems, so I don’t use them (except for my palm pilot, which I love, but I only use it as an address book. I can’t hold 100+ random address in my head). My husband is the exact opposite, totally adores gadgets. That said, he can’t remember my work phone number without looking it up now…

  8. JayMonster Says:

    This is such technophobe baloney. My mother, the queen of memory and organization, does not remember a single persons phone number. She has a meticulous rolodex (circa 1955) with every phone number she needs (or wants) in it.

    People have used, “organizers” or “index cards” or some other device to remember things for years. The only thing that changes is the medium that stores it, and how convenient it is to lug it all around.

    If anything is different, thanks to the volume of “storage” we have in little spaces, we probably are less organized and keep more “junk” (how many of those people in your phone or pda have you not called or e-mailed in quite a long time. To a point where you have to remember who they are)

    So laziness of and lack of organization due to the ability to store almost infinite crap is the big difference, not what we store it on.

  9. Rebecca Mercurio Says:

    Gadgets aren’t making me dumb; life is. I recently found high school (high school!) notebooks and realized I was much, much smarter ten years ago.

  10. Mom101 Says:

    Eh - gotta disagree with Jay here. Even with a Rolodex, you looked at the number, then repeated it in your head four times on the way to dial it. You saw the patterns the numbers you made as you dialed. (I’m sort of visual that way.) Eventually, you could see the numbers in your head as they were written on those cards.

    Or maybe I’m just a freak?

    But now, I don’t even look at the number. I just find someone’s name and hit the send button. You don’t even have to hear those numbers out loud anymore, since they can just text it to you directly.

    I think there’s a point here.

  11. chris Says:

    I agree with you Mom101. I used to have a bunch of phone numbers stored in my head. Now I have very few. Only those people I call regularly on my home phone.

    Case in point, my husband has worked in his office for 3.5 years. I call him several times a day. I have no idea at all what the phone number is. It is stored in my cell phone and I pull up his name and hit dial.
    If I were looking it up on a rolodex I would have memorized it by now.

  12. Oh Baby Gifts Says:

    You can always get one of those pda phones and it can backup all your numbers if you do lose it.

  13. Beta Mom Says:

    I’m going with the whole “my kids make me dumb” theory.

    I’d like to agree that possibly technology adds to that, but we’re getting into theories that are beyond my reason because my kids drained the last of my IQ!

    It’s a vicous cycle.

  14. stephanie Says:

    we got married on 6/5/04 so neither of us could forget. I had a night mare where I got in an accident and couldn’t remember my husband’s new cell phone number, and couldn’t remember the best friend’s number either (it’s speed dial 4). so i woke up and promised myself I would learn these numbers. and I forgot all about it. then I read this. maybe I’ll remember again?

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