Metamemory and the User Experience
An article published in Science Magazine (PDF) in June 2011 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.
As the article points out, this in-and-of itself isn’t news to psychologists. What is interesting is the general conclusion and it’s impact on website stickiness:
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.
Look no further than Quora or StackOverflow (or Google for that matter) to see that becoming a reliable information repository is great for repeat business.