Term of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Rebecca Ryan

Committee Member 1

Lawrence Locker

Committee Member 2

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 3

Karen Naufel


Research supports the notion that the internet may serve as a transactive memory source for many individuals. Because, for many, information from technology is so accessible, humans may be less likely to encode and store information in their memory, potentially resulting in a smaller knowledge base over time (Sparrow, Liu, & Wegner, 2011). The current study examined the effects of exposing participants to a computer, friend, or neutral prime. Procedure order was also varied among the groups to determine whether potential memory failure would occur due to an encoding failure or a retrieval failure. Participants were asked to write out a list of trivia statements either before or after learning while receiving either a computer, friend, or neutral prime. The data were analyzed with a 2 x 3 (before/after learning by type of prime) ANCOVA with age, gender, year in college, ethnicity, high school GPA, college GPA, relationship status, hours online per day, and purpose of time online as covariates. No significant results were found. This information is still very important in determining how technology and environmental social factors impact memory performance and where future efforts should be placed in terms of strengthening and preserving our knowledge base.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


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