Cognitive Offloading

P.I. Lilian Cabrera

The limitations of many of our cognitive functions have been well documented. For example, we can only hold a limited amount of information active in memory. When the cognitive demands of a task increase, we can either continue relying on our internal memory processes to remember information or, we can “offload” the demands into the external environment, a behavior referred to as cognitive offloading (Risko & Gilbert, 2016). While individuals of any age can engage in cognitive offloading, this strategy can be especially useful for older adults to compensate for age-related declines in cognition so that they can better meet the demands of everyday life. We are currently investigating factors that influence individuals’ decision to offload and the cognitive consequences of this behavior.

Additional Readings:
Risko, E. F., & Gilbert, S. J. (2016). Cognitive Offloading. Trends in Cognitive Science, 20(9), 676-688