Are you one of those people who will never lose a chance to take a picture of anything? Take note, you might impair your memory. Research by Fairfield University in Connecticut done on a group of students who visited an Art Museum found out that students who took pictures of most items had poorer recollection of the artifacts compared against the students who took fewer pictures or no pictures at all.
The research has received criticism in that it was done on students, who, they say, cannot be relied on to memorize some things during a tour. But the researchers reason that those who want to technology to keep for them details of objects and events pay less attention to the events or objects themselves, and might not have time in the future to review the pictures that they had taken earlier.
The abstract of the research posted in Psychological Science reads,
Two studies examined whether photographing objects impacts what is remembered about them. Participants were led on a guided tour of an art museum and were directed to observe some objects and to photograph others. Results showed a photo-taking-impairment effect: If participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and remembered fewer details about the objects and the objects’ locations in the museum than if they instead only observed the objects and did not photograph them. However, when participants zoomed in to photograph a specific part of the object, their subsequent recognition and detail memory was not impaired, and, in fact, memory for features that were not zoomed in on was just as strong as memory for features that were zoomed in on. This finding highlights key differences between people’s memory and the camera’s “memory” and suggests that the additional attentional and cognitive processes engaged by this focused activity can eliminate the photo-taking-impairment effect.