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Are We Outsourcing Our Memory to Camera Phones?

Are We Outsourcing Our Memory to Camera Phones?

by Tessa MenatianMay 23, 2014 Time to read: < 1 min.

Do we remember less as we take more photos with our camera phones? NPR’s Audie Cornish explored that question in her recent story, Take Photos to Remember Your Experiences? Think Again. 

Peter Jon Lindberg asked a similar question in his latest Travel + Leisure article: Are we really experiencing a new destination – or just recording random moments?

Psychologist Linda Henkel conducted two studies to examine whether photographing objects impacts how we remember them. The results showed a photo-taking-impairment effect: if participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and details than if they only observed the objects without photographing them.

The growing conversation around our snap happy habits is not to advocate a Boston Tea Party-like event with our smartphones. But, as Dr. Henkel suggests in her NPR interview, we could benefit from a more mindful approach to our experiences – and why we record those experiences.

Are we taking and sharing photos to seek approval? Are we relying on our camera phone as a memory retrieval tool? Asking such questions encourages us to reassess our habits – and perhaps help enhance our memory of real-life experiences.

Join the conversation about our camera phone habits. Take part in our MindfulFilter campaign to help you create more awareness around how and why you take and share photos. Learn how to participate here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tessa Menatian is a Writer & Editor at Key Step Media. In this role, she collaborates with Daniel Goleman to write and edit articles for LinkedIn and other media sites. She also designs and develops innovative content—including online courses and actionable articles—to help leaders at all levels cultivate their Emotional Intelligence.

Tessa is a graduate of Bard College where she studied Written Arts, worked as an Editorial Assistant for the journal Conjunctions, and led a publication of student work. She lives in Easthampton, MA. You can find some of her work at tessamenatian.com.