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Study finds that taking photos could be affecting our memory

A new study from Fairfield University found that taking photos of an event may affect our ability to remember it later.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

WHEN YOU’RE TAKING photos of a concert or event, you could be affecting  just how much of it you will remember later on.

A new study has found that taking photos of an event, instead of fully concentrating on it, can prevent us from remembering it later on, The Telegraph reports.

A research team from Fairfield Univeristy, Connecticut, carried out an experiment where a group of university students were led on a museum tour. The team asked them to either photograph or try to remember the objects on display.

When their memory was tested the next day, the team found that those who took photos were less accurate in recognising the objects as well as remembering their details.

Dr Linda Henkel, who led the study, described it as the “photo-taking impairment effect.”

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 is currently investigating if the content of a photo, such as our inclusion in it, and whether we actively choose what to photograph might influence what we remember.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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