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Yale Study: You're not as clever as your Googling suggests

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Having all of human knowledge readily available on the internet has convinced people that they know a lot more than they actually do, according to a recent Yale study. For their recently published report in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, a pair of psychologists conducted multiple 1000-participant experiments. They found that participants who used the internet to research a subject were more likely to think that they also knew about a second, unrelated topic. Basically, if you look up subject A with the internet, you're more likely than offline researchers to think you also know about subject B -- even if you haven't actually looked anything up. In general, internet users believed themselves to be brighter and more clever than the other participants in the study.

Yale psychology professor Frank Keil argues that having the internet's vast resources at your fingertips causes people to confuse their internal knowledge base (what they personally know) with their external knowledge base (knowing where to find the information they need). In short, it acts as a sort of cognitive opiate, convincing people they know more than they do even when the search results come up empty. "With the internet, the lines become blurry between what you know and what you think you know," lead researcher Matthew Fisher told the Telegraph. "Accurate personal knowledge is difficult to achieve, and the Internet may be making that task even harder."

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