Departmental Seminar Series: Dr Sam Gilbert (University College London)
Technology increasingly enables us to offload our memories in external devices, for example when we write information down, photograph to-be-remembered objects, or program smartphone alerts to remind us of intended activities. This practice is ancient, and concerns about its impact on organic memory date back at least to the time of Socrates. However, only recently has “cognitive offloading” become the subject of sustained and systematic study. This talk will review recent investigations of cognitive offloading, focusing particularly on two questions: A) what is the impact of cognitive offloading on human memory, and B) what are the processes that trigger it: how do we decide whether to offload memories or store them internally? Evidence shows that the impact of offloading on memory is complex, and it is over-simplistic to think of it as straightforwardly good or bad. As for the question of how we decide whether or not to offload memory, evidence points to a key role of metacognitive evaluations such as feelings of confidence. Therefore, improving the accuracy of metacognitive evaluations can improve individuals’ adaptive use of cognitive tools in everyday life.
Sam Gilbert is Associate Professor and Group Leader at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience UCL. His research investigates the cognitive and neuroanatomical bases of executive functions including prospective memory, metacognition and 'cognitive offloading' - when we offload mental processing to external tools like diaries and smartphones.
This talk is part of the Goldsmiths Psychology Departmental Seminar Series. All are welcome to attend and no tickets are required.
Dates & times
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