Photos and Experience (07-13-17)

Taking a photograph of something influences our sensory memories of it.  Barasch and her team (in press) found that “even without revisiting any photos, participants who could freely take photographs during an experience recognized more of what they saw and less of what they heard, compared with those who could not take any photographs. Further, merely taking mental photos had similar effects on memory. These results provide support for the idea that photo taking induces a shift in attention toward visual aspects and away from auditory aspects of an experience. . . . Participants with a camera had better recognition of aspects of the scene that they photographed than of aspects they did not photograph. Furthermore, participants who used a camera during their experience recognized even nonphotographed aspects better than participants without a camera did.”  These findings may be useful to people analyzing research data, particularly if space/object users have been asked to take photographs of specific spaces/objects, such as those where they feel they work most creatively.

Previously, Diehl, Zauberman, and Barasch (2016) learned that “taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts. . . . This occurs when photo taking increases engagement with the experience, which is less likely when the experience itself is already highly engaging, or when photo-taking interferes with the experience. . . .  we also find that this greater engagement due to photo-taking results in worse evaluations of negative experiences.”

Kristin Diehl, Gal Zauberman, and Alixandra Barasch. 2016.  “How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences.”  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 119-140.

Alexandra Barasch, Kristin Diehl, Jackie Silverman, and Gal Zauberman.  “Photographic Memory:  The Effects of Volitional Photo Taking on Memory for Visual and Auditory Aspects of an Experience.”  Psychological Science, in press.