The Google Effect, Multitasking, and Lost Linearity: What We Should Do

41 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2017 Last revised: 25 Jan 2017

See all articles by Patrick Meyer

Patrick Meyer

University of Detroit Mercy - School of Law

Date Written: 2016


As experts have noted, every medium brings cognitive benefits and limitations. The Internet is no different. We should teach our students how to properly use the Internet as a means of avoiding its obvious pitfalls and maximizing its benefits.

People who encounter a difficult legal topic, as is certainly the case with law students and new associates, need to concentrate at the highest level during this initial phase of information acquisition. The online learning environment is wrought with multitasking traps and other attention robbers. In addition, although Internet-based reading gives us a new and useful cognitive profile and greatly strengthens our spatial visualization abilities, it does so at the expense of the traditional print-based development of “higher-order cognitive processes: abstract vocabulary, mindfulness, reflection, inductive problem solving, critical thinking, and imagination.”

There are a plethora of tactics we can employ to best teach our students how to more effectively learn in the online environment. Although one could spend a lifetime trying to employ a large number of these solutions, focusing on a handful of them will go a long way in addressing the needs of our students.

Keywords: Legal Research, Research, Multitasking, Information Overload, Google Effect, Structure, Linearity, Online

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Patrick, The Google Effect, Multitasking, and Lost Linearity: What We Should Do (2016). 42 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 705 (2016). Available at SSRN:

Patrick Meyer (Contact Author)

University of Detroit Mercy - School of Law ( email )

651 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
United States

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