You’ll probably be taking lots of photos of family and friends this holiday season, but you might want to set the camera down to help you better remember these cherished times. A recent study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the act of taking photos may diminish what we actually remember about the people or objects being photographed.
The small study took participants to a museum and split them into groups of those who observed objects, and those who observed and then photographed the same objects. The results showed participants performed worse on memory recognition with objects they photographed, compared to objects they just observed with their eyes. Although it would need a more diverse sample base to strengthen the conclusions on a broader lever, the study underscored the point that there are different ways the brain processes information; the more we engage our brain into processing a stimuli, the more solid the memory recognition.
As Laura Henkel, researcher at Fairfield University in Connecticut and author of the study argues, “If we’re going to rely on that external memory device of the camera to remember for us, we’ve got to take that extra step and look at it.”
No doubt, the treasured family holiday photo is a mainstay in your life but with the advent of digital photography, there is the tendency to spend more time reviewing the screen than actually enjoying the cherished time together.