Do you want to remember your holidays? Take fewer pictures.


let’s raise our hands – how many people take pictures of every aspect of their vacation? We will assume that most of you raise your hands because it is fair to say that most of us live for the’Gram. We spend time choosing the right angle, we find the best lighting, then we finish our holiday photos with the best filters that manage to hide the stain on our nose, and the fact that our skin is a little red. Although we love it when hearts of love and comments fill out our Instagram notifications, have you ever wondered how taking pictures affects your vacation? Well, according to one study, taking pictures of your vacation can have a significant impact on your memory of your trip…..

The study

So what is the study in question? Well, it was published by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in May 2018, and is entitled’The use of media reduces the memory of experiences’. The study was undertaken by a group of psychologists to see if taking pictures and using the media during your vacation will affect how you remember your trip. To do this, they divided the participants into three groups, and each group took a self-guided tour, where they were asked to take pictures and/or share these media with others.

Do you want to remember your holidays? Take fewer pictures.

Round 1

The first visit consisted of 132 participants, who were taken to the beautiful church in Stanford University Park and asked to explore at their leisure. They had three options: either they could take a minimum of five photos for their own pleasure, or they could share them on social media, or they could choose not to take any photos at all. A few weeks later, they were asked to return to the church during a self-guided visit, where they did a memory test to see what they remembered about the church from their first meeting. The researchers found that those who had taken photos had less recall than those who did not.

Round 2

The second group of participants, consisting of 238 people, was also invited to explore the church. Yet this time, they were asked to explore with another person they did not know, rather than alone – although they were not allowed to converse with each other. Each pair was given a different condition to undertake the visit. In some pairs, one participant was not allowed to take pictures while the other took them for himself, In other pairs, one participant was not allowed to take pictures while the other was taking pictures for Facebook. In the last group, the two participants were not allowed to take pictures. Again, the researchers found that those who had not taken pictures had a better memory on their second return.

Do you want to remember your holidays? Take fewer pictures.

To conclude

Psychologists also undertook a third test that led them to similar conclusions, which led them to believe that taking pictures of your vacation is not one of the best ways to remember your trip. However, it is important to note that in all three cases, taking pictures of an experience did not change their level of enjoyment during their trip. This means that even if you can still enjoy your vacation while taking pictures, you may not remember as much….

Are you going on vacation soon? Well, psychologists say that if you really want to remember your trip, you should put your phone down and enjoy it through your eyes, rather than through a lens.


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