Taking Pictures Might Be Ruining Your Memory

In a phenomenon known as ‘photo-taking impairment effect’, researchers believe that taking a picture to remember occasions such as a birthday, family event or concert may actually harm our ability to remember the event fully. A new study shows that taking pictures rather than concentrating fully on the events in front of us prevents memories from taking hold and us remembering them fully. Dr. Linda Henkel, from Fairfield University, described it as the “photo-taking impairment effect”. She explains, “People so often whip out their cameras almost mindlessly to capture a moment, to the point that they are missing what is happening right in front of them. When people rely on technology to remember for them – counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves – it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”
Dr. Henkel and her team planned an experiment in a museum to learn if taking pictures of the exhibits was hindering the ability of visitors to remember what they had seen. Researchers led a group of university students on a tour of the Bellarmine Museum of Art and were asked to either photograph the objects on display or try to remember them. They tested their memory the next day. The results showed that those who had photographed the objects were less accurate in recognizing the objects compared to those that had only looked at them. It found that their memory of detail for the objects they had photographed was poorer.
“This study was carefully controlled, so participants were directed to take pictures of particular objects and not others, but in everyday life people take photos of things that are important to them, that are meaningful, that they want to remember.” More research is being done by Dr. Henkel and her to learn more about how taking photographs can affect the memory.Resource: http://www.businessinsider.com/taking-photos-may-harm-our-ability-to-make-memories-study-2013-12



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