How Does Technology Affect Our Memory?

Jason R. Finley | Farah Naaz

Washington University in St. Louis

$4,450Next Goal
This project was funded on:
7 March 2014
We humans have always used our surroundings to extend our memory. But is the technology of today enhancing human memory, or replacing it? We plan to gather survey data and run internet-based psychology experiments to find out:
How are people currently using technology for memory purposes?
How well do people understand the technology and their reliance on it?
Are there ways to improve the interplay between technology and human memory?


Budget Overview

We will be using every single dollar of funding for payment of human participants. We will use Amazon's Mechanical Turk service to recruit and pay people for participating in the surveys and experiments we will design. All surveys and experiments will be conducted over the internet, so we will avoid overhead costs typically associated with conducting psychology research in a physical laboratory.


  • $30 donation: We will send you an autographed personalized copy of the first publication to result from this research.
  • $100 donation: We will thank you by name (if you wish) in the acknowledgements section of the first publication to result from this research, as well as sending you an autographed personalized copy.

Meet the Researcher


Jason - I have always been motivated by a sense of wonder, exploration, and discovery. I grew up fascinated with dinosaurs--not for their ferocity--but for the mystery of their disappearance. As an undergraduate at UCLA I became captivated by the notion that intuitions about our own minds are often incorrect, and that we can use science to improve our self-knowledge. That is when I started my pursuit of cognitive science.

Farah - I was born and raised in a small town by the river Ganges in India. As a child I used to dream of becoming a scientist, working in solitude trying to solve great mysteries of the world. It is during my graduate work at CBCS, India that I realized the enormity and complexity of scientific research.

Currently, we are both working at Washington University as Postdoctoral Research Associates. Our mutual interest in memory brought us together to explore this question of how technology and the human mind shape each other.

Endorsed by


This project is the brainchild of two expert scientists and the who ask innovative, pioneering questions about the...See more

Assistant professor at Williams College

Pooja K. Agarwal

Jason and Farah are stupendous colleagues of mine! Great thinkers and doers. I've personally contributed to their...See more

Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Washington University in St. Louis

Nestojko, J. F., Finley, J. R., & Roediger, H. L. (2013). Extending cognition to external agents. Psychological Inquiry, 24(4), 321-325.
Schönpflug, W. (1986). The trade-off between internal and external information storage. Journal of Memory and Language, 25, 657–675.

Crump, M.J.C., McDonnell, J.V., Gureckis, T.M. (2013). Evaluating Amazon’s Mechanical Turk as a Tool for Experimental Behavioral Research. PLoS ONE 8(3).

Project Backers

ababuvictorsungkhasetteemashatonyshengjoulevpdathKeisarBMoedjachershrbunkerkadesotoCindy WuMicahKDorganickim79clborgmanefkendall27Kiehloreakahrsbmcbride9JoanhankchendavecyliswinebrennerpshelferichCPJpomeranian99Denny LuanJohnMSmartruhardzpavlickMook13adour_high_archamanfirdausdcbuibridgidfinnpessisRickFinleyAverosealiaoldes281mtyelmeneglsignalthenoviceoofamhaunwolfgangjaneshevtsovjohnnestojkopaulbPooja K. AgarwalZygarcarolinakuppertetzelBrian Clarkbethanyjanetdannyhorowitz5rachelryskin