OTTAWA- Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada asked about 100 participants a series of general-knowledge questions, such as naming the capital of France. Participants indicated if they knew the answer or not.
For half of the study, participants had access to internet. They had to look up the answer when they responded that they did not know the answer. In the other half of the study, participants did not have internet access.
The team found that the people who had access to the web were about 5% more likely to say that they did not know the answer to the question. Furthermore, in some contexts, the people with access to internet reported feeling as though they knew less compared to the people without access.
“With the ubiquity of the internet, we are almost constantly connected to large amounts of information. And when that data is within reach, people seem less likely to rely on their own knowledge,” said Professor Evan F Risko, from the University of Waterloo, who led the study.
In interpreting the results, the researchers speculated that access to internet might make it less acceptable to say you know something but are incorrect.
It is also possible that participants were more likely to say they did not know an answer when they had access to the web because online searching offers an opportunity to confirm their answer or resolve their curiosity, and the process of finding out is rewarding.
Originally Published In Times Of India