How Taking Photos Affects Your Memory of the Moment Later On

New York Magazine:

Recently I transferred a stash of photos from my iPad to my computer. As the hundred-some photos flashed by on the screen, I found myself reliving the full panoply of emotions from memories long forgotten. Such is the power of photographs — which is why my friends and I are fans of the saying that if something wasn’t captured by camera, it’s like it never happened.

To a certain extent, that may be true, and not just because old photos make it easier for us to reminisce about times gone by. In fact,  recent research suggests that the act of photographing something helps us remember the visual aspects of the moment better, even if we never look at the photo again.

In a study published in June in the journal Psychological Science,researchers recruited 294 participants to tour a museum exhibit of Etruscan artifacts while listening to an audio guide. Half of the participants were given cameras and told to take at least ten photos. At the end of the tour, all participants asked to answer a series of multiple-choice questions about the objects they had seen. Those who took photos, the researchers found, recognized almost 7 percent more objects than those who didn’t.

Read the whole story: New York Magazine

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