Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Linguistics and Cognitive Science
Professor Laura Johnson
Professor Brian Keeley
Professor Charles Kamm
© 2021 Gloria J Choi
In this thesis, I explore the internet-extended mind through both philosophical and psychological lenses in order to investigate the questions “To what extent is the mind extended onto the internet and, more generally, outside our bodies?” and “How will an increasingly internet-extended brain change the ways in which humans communicate, remember, and behave?”. First, I introduce the idea of a mind that extends out into the world, instead of lying solely in the brain. Then, I outline existing research that introduces the challenges and implications of an internet-extended mind in an ever-changing internet landscape. Next, I discuss how the internet is already changing human memories and behaviors. Lastly, I pose the research question, “Is accuracy of recall better when receiving information about someone through a Facebook page or through face-to-face speech?” and conduct an experiment. In this experiment, all participants experienced a face-to-face and a Facebook condition. The face-to-face condition consisted of a video of an actor who introduced herself as either Taylor or Fran. The Facebook condition consisted of a video screen recording of a Facebook webpage for either Taylor or Fran. After the participant saw both conditions, they were given a mental math distractor task and then recalled the information through a survey. The results corroborated my hypotheses that overall recall would be better for the Facebook condition than the face-to-face condition and that the participants who were more exposed to Facebook in their personal time would have better recall than other participants. I conclude this paper with reflections on the results favoring recall for the Facebook condition and what it means for human minds if information can be stored more accurately on a phone than in the brain.
Choi, Gloria, "The Internet-Extended Mind: The Psychological Ramifications and Philosophical Implications of Cognitive Offloading" (2021). Scripps Senior Theses. 1675.
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