One of the worst aspects of human nature is our need to brandish our cell phone cameras at concerts or museums and capture every single moment. The thinking is that the more we capture, the less we’re going to forget of that Beyonce concert that we overpaid for. However, there’s a new condition called “photo-taking impairment effect” that might negate that line of reasoning.
According to researchers at Fairfield University, people who rely on their cameras to capture every moment of an event are not fully immersed in it themselves so they’re less likely to remember it. So, it might be time to stop inundating followers with Instagram and Facebook photos since the pics are keeping you from remembering your life.
Researchers learned of this when they corralled a bunch of students at a museum and asked them to remember the items by either photographing them or taking notes. They were then brought back the next day and shown the same objects. The exhibits that were photographed were less likely to be remembered than those that were looked at without their phones.
On the flip side, students who snapped a picture of a certain part of the object rather than the whole thing were more likely to remember it, meaning that the “zoom serves to focus our memories as opposed to the instinctive snap.”
Regardless, you should get off your phone. Linda Henkel, a researcher, told the Independent that people are too distracted on their phones that might be missing what’s happening right in front of their faces. She added:
“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” says Ms. Henkel. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”