Taking Pictures to Remember May Help You Forget


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.

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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.

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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.

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