Have you ever taken so many pictures of an event that you can’t remember what you actually saw? You weren’t imagining things! Researcher Linda Henkel, of Fairfield University in Connecticut, has given a name to this condition, “photo-taking impairment effect.”
Henkel confirmed her suspicions on the subject by having student participants view artworks at a museum alone or along with taking pictures at a distance. She discovered that when tested on their comprehension and memory of what they saw, students who shot photos scored poorly (Megan Gannon, “Want to Remember Your Museum Visit? Don’t Take Pictures,” Live Science at LiveScience.com, December 9, 2013).
However, when given the assignment of taking images of details of artworks, the photo-taking participants improved their scores. Henkel postulates that when you rely on the camera as your memory for complete objects, you send a signal to your brain to stop making an effort to remember (Ellen Gamerman, “The Brain Is Mightier Than the Camera When Remembering Art,” The Wall Street Journal at Online.WSJ.com, December 17, 2013).
Don’t forget that the processing equipment inside your brain, designed by God, is without parallel. Let technology be an aid, but always be sure to make the most of your incredible human potential for recall and learning!