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Cell Phones Affect Memory

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Are cell phones dumbing down the human race? According to a new study out of Britain, the answer is a definitive "yes." Too much reliance on technology has reduced our brain power, and it's measurable.

Professor Ian Robertson of Trinity College Dublin carried out the study. His research revealed that most citizens in Britain have to remember five passwords, five pin numbers, two number plates, three security ID numbers, and three bank account numbers--quite a lot to just maneuver through life on a daily basis! To get around this, most people use only one or two passwords. This poses potential security breaches for the average person, but also highlights what many people expressed as "information overload." Cell phones, Blackberries, and other memory devices offer a solution to all the numbers and codes the average person has to remember. But Robertson stated that people are relying too much on devices for their memory. And the less you use your memory, the poorer it becomes.

The study discovered that one quarter of all Britons couldn't give their home phone number when asked. What's more, only a third of those surveyed could remember more than three birthdays of their immediate family members.

The study broke down the figures into age groups, providing some clear results. About one third under the age of 30 couldn't recall their home phone numbers without resorting to a cell phone or other device. In the same age bracket, only 40% could provide important dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries, for family members. For those over 50, 87% could remember details on family. The study also indicated that 58% incorrectly believed it possible to remember the myriad of numbers and codes they use every day.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. Cell phones are convenient and helpful devices.
  2. Cell phones are dangerous to humans.
  3. I place all my phone numbers and e-mails in my cell phone, because I can't remember them.
  4. I can remember my home phone number.
  5. People in their 50s generally have better memories than people in their 30s.

True or False?: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. According to the article, cell phones are making humans stupid.
  2. People can't remember numbers well because they have so many passwords.
  3. If you don't use your memory, it becomes poor.
  4. Most people in Briton don't know their home phone number.
  5. Older people couldn't remember numbers and codes as well as young people.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How many birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates can you remember? How about numbers?
  2. Has your cell phone helped or harmed your life? Why?
  3. Can you think of other technology that has negatively affected our lives? What has been the impact?
  4. What can you do to improve memory?
  5. Could you live without your cell phone? How about if poor memory led to serious problems later in life?

Google Search: Type "memory" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.


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