An article published in Science Magazine in June…

An article published in Science Magazine in June provides evidence that the Internet has become an “external part” of our memory systems. Rather than remembering information, we seem to have “outsourced” this effortful task to an entity other than ourselves.

On the face of it, this is not an astounding finding in that psychologists have demonstrated for over 30 years that we use outside sources, such as family or team members, to supplement our less-than-perfect memories. What makes this research remarkable, and of interest to the UX community, is that the researchers found that when we expect to be able to access information in the future, we tend to have reduced memory for the actual information, but enhanced memory for where to find the information. Thus, while we do measurably worse at remembering that the capital of Vermont is Montpellier, we apparently remember with greater accuracy, where on the bookshelf the atlas is located. These findings suggest that making sites memorable as the repository of information may be the key to gaining return visitors.

There are some excellent points further into the article that speak to single purpose sites and credibility.

read more @ Metamemory and the User Experience | UX Magazine.