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Cell Phones Affect Memory

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Are cell phones making the human race stupid? According to a new study out of Britain, the answer is "yes." We rely too much on technology, which has reduced out brain power. And it's measurable.

Professor Ian Robertson of Trinity College Dublin conducted the study. His research showed 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 just to get through life every day. But most people have become incapable of remembering all this information, so use only one or two passwords. It highlights what many people also expressed as "information overload." Cell phones, Blackberries, and other memory devices offer a solution to the numbers and codes the average person has to remember. But Robertson said that people use the devices instead of their memory. And the less you use your memory, the poorer it becomes.

The study discovered that one quarter of all Britons didn't know their home phone number. And only a third of those surveyed could remember more than three birthdays of their immediate family members.

The study arranged the figures into age groups, which provided clearer answers. About one third under the age of 30 couldn't recall their home phone numbers, and had to check their cell phone or other device. In the same age bracket, only 40% could give important dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries, for family members. For people over 50, 87% could remember details about their families. The study also discovered that 58% of participants assumed that they could remember all the numbers and codes used daily; however, in fact, they could not.


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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