You've heard it said that people today are smarter than at any other time in human history, but is that really true?
Some researchers say it's not, suggesting instead that more reliance on technology is making humans only feel smarter, according to the Daily Mail.
"The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world's knowledge at your fingertips," said Yale University fourth-year psychology student Matthew Fisher.
With tools like Google, Bing, Yahoo and other online search engines available just about anywhere on any device, if you don't know the answer to something, you don't have to wait long to look it up. It's for that reason that researchers have suggested one's own knowledge could be confused with external knowledge.
"When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet," Fisher said.
The American Psychological Association conducted nine experiments on the topic and found the evidence supports the theory.
In one experiment, participants were divided into two groups and presented with the same questions. One group was allowed to search for the answers online and provide the link to the website where they found it. The second group was given the exact text from the same websites the first group cited as sources.
When researchers asked the two groups to rate their own knowledge, the first group consistently rated its knowledge higher than that of the second group, according to the Daily Mail.
"Being in search mode" while on the Internet, according to Yale psychology professor Frank Keil, could result in people feeling smarter simply because they know they have access to more answers.
"If you don't know the answer to a question, it's very apparent to you that you don't know, and it takes time and effort to find the answer," Fisher said.
However, with so much technology now at everyone's fingertips, the time and effort it takes to get answers have been greatly diminished.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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