The sun is setting at the end of a gorgeous day at the beach — the light is just right, illuminating your kids’ faces as they play in the waves. You reach for your phone because you want to remember this perfect moment. But before you do, here’s a bit of surprising science that avid photo-takers need to know: Taking photos is not the perfect memory-retention tool you think it is.
Snapping too many pictures could actually harm the brain’s ability to retain memories, says Elizabeth Loftus, a psychological science professor at the University of California, Irvine. So you get the photo but kind of lose the memory.
It works in one of two ways, Loftus explains: We either offload the responsibility of remembering moments when we take pictures of them, or we’re so distracted by the process of taking a photo that we miss the moment altogether.
But photo-takers, don’t despair just yet. If you’re more intentional about the photos you take, they can actually help you capture that moment you’re hoping to hold onto.
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