Betsy Sparrow, Ph.D

Since the publication of her article The Google Effect: Consequences of Having Information at our Fingertips (Science, 2011), Betsy has been asking questions about what we are likely to remember when we look up information online. When are we most critical in our evaluation of what we learn online? Under what type of learning situations are we most likely to make creative leaps? Her work has gained her a reputation in academia as one of the important voices in research on the intersection of human cognition and technology She has written a review of the subject for two prestigious journals, and has gained considerable media attention (PBS, MSNBC, BBC, ABC News, the Colbert Report, plus all major international newsprint publications). Her work has drawn the interest of many corporations (Masie’s Learning, Shell, Humera) where she has given keynote addresses and led breakout sessions with people involved with corporate learning and internet technology creation. Betsy received her Ph.D in social psychology from Harvard University.

Click here for CV.


Sparrow, B., Chatman, L.* (2013). We’re not burning down the house: Synthesizing pre-Internet, current findings, and future research on social cognition and being online. Psychological Inquiry, 24, 211-218. [reply to commentaries.]


Sparrow, B., Chatman, L.* (2013). Social cognition in the age of the internet: Same as it ever was? Psychological Inquiry, 24, 1-19.


Sparrow, B., Liu, J., Wegner, D.M. (2011): The Google effect on memory: Cognitive consequences of information at our fingertips. Science, 333: 776-778.


Sparrow, B., & Wegner, D.M. (2006). Unpriming: The deactivation of thoughts through expression.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91: 1009-1019.


Wegner D., Sparrow, B., & Winerman, L. (2004). Vicarious agency: Experiencing Control over the movements of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86: 838-848.


Wegner, D., Fuller, V., & Sparrow, B. (2003). Clever hands: Uncontrollable intelligence in facilitated communication. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85: 5-19.














Yale Scientific - Is Google Ruining Your Memory? The Science of Memory in the Digital Age (July 11, 2013)


Time Magazine - 10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life (March 12, 2012)


Daily Mail - Are our brains being boggled by Google? (January 21, 2012)


Transactive Memory @ Elliott Masie's Learning 2011

Colbert Report - The Word: Head in the Cloud (August 9, 2011)


WNYC Radio - Google and Memory (August 1, 2011)


Psychology Today - Is the Internet Making Us Dumber? (July 19, 2011)


MSNBC TV - Internet Use Affects Memory (July 17, 2011)


USA Today - Is the Internet replacing human memory? (July 16, 2011)


BBC News - Internet's memory effects quantified in computer study (July 16, 2011)


Sidney Morning Herald - Memory lapses becoming the norm as Google steps in to fill the gaps (July 15, 2011)


Wall Street Journal - Google on the Brain: How the Internet Has Changed What We Remember (July 15, 2011)


Wired - Is Google Ruining Your Memory? (July 15, 2011)


Scientific American - Piece of Mind: Is the Internet Replacing Our Ability to Remember? (July 14, 2011)


New York Times - Internet Use Affects Memory, Study Finds (July 14, 2011)


cnet - Google rewiring the way we remember, study says (July 14, 2011)