Taking a picture to help you remember something might end up having the opposite effect, according to new research.
A study released this week showed that people who took photographs of items during a museum tour were less likely to remember details than those who merely looked at the objects.
That is a lesson for a world growing accustomed to instant photo-sharing on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, says psychological scientist Linda Henkel of Fairfield University, Connecticut.
"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," says Henkel, author of the study, which was published in the journal Psychological Science.
Henkel set up an experiment in the university's museum, in which students were led on a tour and were asked to take note of certain objects, either by photographing them or by simply observing them.
The next day, their memory for the objects was tested - and participants were less accurate in recognizing the items they had photographed compared to those they had only observed.