Camera Usage May Be Messing With Your Memory

NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – Smartphones have made snapping pictures of anything and everything easier than ever before. But the constant snapping of photos of everything from food to priceless moments with family could come at a price to your memory.

A pair of studies in the journal Psychological Science took participants on a guided tour of an art museum and asked them to look at some objects and photograph others. Those who took pictures had a worse recollection of seeing the artefacts and their details than those who hadn’t.

The authors labeled this phenomenon as the “photo-taking-impairment effect.”

But, using a camera was not all bad for memory. When the aim of the picture was to capture one specific aspect/detail, that element was remembered very well.

The study only looked at 28 subjects, all of whom were students, and there is a question of how much of a role a simple interest in the artwork in question played a role. Still, the author told the London Telegraph that people with cameras are sometimes missing the forest for the trees.

“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,” said Linda Henkel, who led the study. “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 can remember their experiences.”

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