Is Taking Pictures Harmful to Memory?

course photo: northportnancy

Nowadays, it is very common to record our memories in technological devices rather than storing them in our memory. So much so that we can take pictures every 30 seconds with a mini camera attached to the collar.

So is this all an indication that you’ve escaped exaggeration?

Of course, it is very enjoyable to photograph your beautiful moment and examine it again in the future. But Linda Henkel, a professor of psychology at Fairfield University in the United States, finds it very dangerous from her research results. According to Henkel, taking pictures of everything we see with smartphones or cameras damages the memory of important events.

In 2014, Henkel is conducting research on this topic. Some students are taken to the museum and half of the group is asked to photograph the works they see and the other group is asked to see only the works. The test that took place the next day reveals that most of the group taking photographs do not remember the details of the works. Henkel sees this as a drawback.

We see the camera as a kind of external memory medium, says Henkel. We expect him to remember things for us. That’s why we’re not engaging in things that will help us remember that event. However, he added that even though taking pictures detrimental to short-term memory formation, in the long run this very useful in remembering the past.

In the same research, some students were asked to photograph a certain detail of the work; due to their concentration and special efforts; memory debilitating effect in taking pictures also disappeared.

Purpose of Photography from Past to Present

Taking pictures is actually something that has existed for decades. Even years ago, almost every home in Western Europe and America had cameras. However, with the rapid advance of technology, the transition to digital cameras has greatly changed the reason and the way people use the camera. In the past, although photographs were only for special occasions and were special to family life; nowadays it’s everywhere. We use photographs to develop our ties through social media and to establish our identity. Even younger generations can even use photography as one-to-one communication tool with some social media tools. Rather than describing photography as an element to be remembered in the past, Henkel; he only sees his current feelings as a means of sharing with others.

Almost newly introduced, the automatic cameras can now take photos at regular intervals in the course of daily life or when changing environments.

Memory Change

Digital cameras are now changing not only the way they take pictures, but also the way the recorded events, especially because of social media. Kimberley Wade, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Warwick on the subject of false memory formation, said that memory can rebuild. It is therefore possible to build a memory suitable for the pictures taken. When someone shows you a photo that you didn’t take, it’s partly showing an event that you didn’t remember. With the change of memory, you cannot tell whether the image in that photo is really an image you see at that event ”confirms the argument.

Research shows that when we remember an experience from a third person’s perspective, emotional ties to that memory are weakened. For this reason, some experts believe that it is inconvenient to remember the events from an outside perspective. But Wade says, ”You want to think you’re stable. We remember our relationships and ourselves the way we want them to be. Therefore, a little distortion is good for our health.

About the Author
Total 143 posts
Sefa Ozer
Sefa Ozer
Currently studying psychology and researching cognitive behavioral therapy. Also have studied comprative literature,interested in gender studies,. Loves helping people playing video games, music and dancing.
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