Like a Susan Greenfield wind-up doll, the Daily Mail recently declared that the internet is bad for our brains:
Is Google rotting your memory? Survey finds adults are becoming more forgetful because it is so easy to look up things on the Internet
The internet could be making us more forgetful, according to a study published yesterday, because it is so easy to ‘Google it’.
The survey of 2,000 adults found fewer than half could name the year that Princess Diana died, even though it only happened in 1997.
Less than one third knew the year in which the Berlin Wall fell and just 50 per cent were aware of when man first walked on the moon.
Source: Daily Mail, 2nd October 2013
Our ability to remember dates is one of the first things to go as our brain rots away due to the corrosive effects of the evil Google – something we should have already been well aware of, after all it’s what Education Secretary Michael Gove has been saying for ages, and he has all manner of PR surveys from commercial enterprises to back up his claims.
So who is the commercial enterprise behind this PR survey?
The research, commissioned by Grant’s Whisky, examined the modern Brit’s knowledge of famous historical events and the years in which they took place.
Grant’s Whisky are telling us Google is rotting our brains? Presumably they also think the part of our brain responsible for recognising hypocrisy is also under attack.
The study launches Grant’s ‘Read All About It’ campaign which will offer purchasers of every special bottle, a free newspaper front page reprint from any date in history since 1903.
A spokesman for Grant’s Whisky said: ‘Certain dates are impressed upon us a lot at school and tend to stick but clearly the art for remembering dates fades and it seems we are now retaining less.
‘Perhaps the ability to know the exact dates of things isn’t so crucial, but it’s important the human stories behind those events don’t get lost and we never stop appreciating what’s happened before.’
So, when you see Michael Gove using this story to justify changes to the National Curriculum, perhaps you’ll join me in raising a glass to Grant’s Whisky.
UPDATE: For those who are interested, and hadn’t already assumed it to be the case, this ‘research’ was conducted by Bad PR regulars OnePoll, with the Daily Mail using 62% of the original press release.