January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
In a new study, psychological scientist Linda Henkel of Fairfield University presents data showing that participants had worse memory for objects, and for specific object details, when they took photos of them…
Undergraduates were led on a tour around the museum and were asked to take note of certain objects, either by photographing them or by simply observing them. The next day, their memory for the objects was tested.
The data showed that participants were less accurate in recognizing the objects they had photographed compared to those they had only observed. Furthermore, they weren’t able to answer as many questions about the objects’ visual details for those objects they had photographed.
Henkel calls this the “photo-taking impairment effect”:
“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,” she explains.
A second study replicated these findings, but it also presented an interesting twist: Taking a photograph of a specific detail on the object by zooming in on it with the camera seemed to preserve memory for the object, not just for the part that was zoomed in on but also for the part that was out of frame. read more
PHOTOGRAPH: Minami Noritaka