Morning Buzz

Taking Photos Impairs Your Memory, Study Shows

We've got some bad news, you snap-happy tourists, hipsters, and parents.

While you were busy taking pictures of your food, your travels, and your child's first ballet recital, your brain may or may not have forgotten to process the mental pictures. Oops.

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In a new study published in the journal Psychological Science, professor Linda A. Henkel of Fairfield University in Connecticut reveals a new problem with overactive shutterbugs.

It's called the "photo-taking-impairment effect" and, according to Henkel, it can leave some camera-holders fuzzy on the details.

In Henkel's two studies, subjects were led on a guided tour of an art museum where they were told to either observe or photograph certain points of interest. The results showed that people remembered more details from observing an object than they did when they were taking a picture of objects as a whole.

However, the study also noted an exception to the rule. When participants zoomed in on specific features of an object, not only did it not impair their memory, it actually remained as clear in their minds as if they had observed the object as a whole, suggesting that the brain activity stimulated by focusing and manipulating the camera can combat the photo-taking-impairment effect.

Better schedule that facial, because it looks like every photo will be a close-up shot from now on.

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Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson