Mobile Phones Are Ruining Our Memory For Numbers

MobileNumberIt's hardly surprising that in an era of saturation mobile ownership, memorising phone numbers is no longer our top priority. A new study suggests just how slack we've become: apparently half the population can't even remember their office phone number.

Picture by cyberslayer

A survey of 1125 Australians commissioned by Microsoft not only unearthed that statistic, but also suggests that only one-third of Australians know their best friends' mobile number.

That doesn't necessarily point to the decline of civilisation, it should be pointed out. Memorising numbers isn't the most compelling thing you can do with your cerebrum, and if your phone can store numbers efficiently (and pop names when those people call), then keeping them in your own head is a waste of brain cells. But if you do want to improve your overall memory, check out our top 10 memory hacks.


    Not only that: some people change mobile phone numbers quite frequently (e.g., hiding from exes etc), so it's hard to keep up.

      Brent, that is one of the most pissweak excuses I've ever heard.

      It's true - I knew a lot of phone numbers growing up (family and friends) but now find myself searching the mobile every time I need to call someone.

        Wasn't offering an excuse, just making a point.

        And yes, growing up I used to memorise lots of numbers (had a brain for it). But nowadays, it's easier just to type the first three letters of their name into my phone, then hit dial.

    Well, perhaps it's a good thing. Frees up space so we can remember more important things, like birthdays, shopping lists and where I left my *damn* keys. I mean surely our brains weren't designed to store lists of numbers, what evolutionary advantage would that give us?

    My suggestion is that phones should read the number aloud as they dial. That way you'd remember frequent numbers over time.

    That is, when you dial, the phone says to you "Dialing 0407 123 456" while it dials, rings, etc. If they answer quickly, the speech would simply be cut off so it's not annoying.

    I don't think mobiles alone have changed that. We did after all have phone books and address books before we started storing all that information in our phones.

    What's wrong with not knowing people's numbers?

    It's the entire reason why DNS was developed - humans aren’t good at remembering large strings of random numbers.

    Names are much easier to remember.

    I'd prefer there being no phone numbers, just Names.

    I blame rap music too...

    When is the last time youve heard a rapper count past 4?

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