A transactive memory system (TMS) is a means by which people may store information externally; in such a system the task of remembering is offloaded by remembering where information is located, rather than remembering the information itself. As Sparrow et al. (2011) suggest in the article Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips, people are beginning to use the internet and computers as a TMS, and this use is changing the way people encounter and treat information. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate whether preference for TMS type (either with books or with computers) varies across age groups. An interaction between TMS preference and age was hypothesized. Before the onset of the internet age, information was primarily found in books and other print materials whereas now the internet is more frequently used, thus this shift in thinking and habit across generations was expected to emerge in the data. The study yielded a total of 51 participants, 32 from the young age group (ages 18-24) and 19 from the old (ages 61-81). A modified Stroop task and question blocks (for priming purposes) were employed to examine whether people are prone to think of book- or computer-related sources when in search of information. Also, a "Look up or Learn" tendencies survey was used to better understand how people decide whether certain information should be learned or left to be "looked up" later (Yacci & Rosanski, 2012). The mixed ANOVA did not reveal main effects for question difficulty or TMS type, nor was an interaction with age found. The results were not consistent with those of Sparrow et al. (2011) and did not show significance for TMS preference. Future studies should continue to examine the Google effect and TMS preference, as it bears important applications for a number of fields.
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Hancock, Peter A.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Siler, Jessica, "Generation and the Google Effect: Transactive Memory System Preference Across Age" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1510.