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Google Makes You Feel Smarter than You Are

Google and other search engines will reward you instantly with the answer to any objective question you might dream up. But people might be forgetting that Google’s genius is not their own. As Melissa Dahl explains for Science of Us, Yale researchers have conducted experiments that show people with access to search engines feel smarter than people who do not have access to them.

To illustrate this, one experiment made groups of people answer a question like, “How does a zipper work?” One group could use search engines to help answer it, while the other group could not. Then both groups were given a second, unrelated question and asked about their confidence in answering it themselves. The group that had had Internet access expressed higher confidence in their ability to answer the question than the other group.

This finding ultimately ties back to an older phenomenon, where a person hears an explanation of something and then thinks to him or herself, “Oh, yeah. I think I already knew that.” Well, no, the odds are better than not that you did not really know that.

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About John Friscia

John Friscia was the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success from 2015 through 2018. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and grew in every possible way in his time there. John graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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